I love a good walk, I go out as many days of the week as I can. I look forward to it, it gives me time on my own, space to clear my head. I stick in my earphones and away I go. Some days I’ll listen to music, other days a podcast. It’s my time, probably the longest time I get on my own is my walking time so it’s important to me.
It is, of course, a great form of exercise too, though highly undervalued I feel. The number of times I have genuinely gotten the impression that it’s not ‘good enough’, it’s not ‘real exercise’. I know from personal experience over the years that for some there is this dreadful misconception that unless you’re paying for exercise via the gym or classes that it isn’t really going to do anything for you. Walking is free, sure how could that do anything for you??
Benefits of Walking
- Easy on joints, but strengthens bones
- Reduces Stress
- Reduces risk of heart disease
- Reduces risk of type 2 diabetes
- Lowers cholesterol
- Lowers blood pressure
- Strengthens muscles
- Improves balance and coordination
- It can boost Vitamin D
- It can improve your digestive system
- It’s free
- You’ll have an arse like Kim Kardashian in a couple of weeks (okay, that one’s a lie!)
That’s a fair list, all the same, I think you’ll agree. One thing I didn’t mention on that list and it’s probably the most important benefit, is the effect walking has on a person’s mental health. Walking boosts serotonin, that chemical in the brain which influences your mood, while at the same time reducing adrenaline which contributes to stress. Whilst in the midst of clinical depression, the last thing a person will feel like doing is going for a walk, quite frankly getting out of bed can be a challenge at that point; however, as the road to recovery beckons walking can prove to be a great natural therapy.
So really, in my opinion, walking is invaluable. It is such an enjoyable activity whether you are alone or catching up with a friend or enjoying it as part of a family activity. One can walk out the front door in a bad mood and walk back in an hour later feeling calmer and back in control (that is fact, I’ve done that!) Walking is a great way to meet people, say hello to your neighbours. Join a walking group if there is one in your area, better still set one up or if like me, you treasure that quiet time, just get your runners on, go and enjoy it, savour the moments.
Most importantly, do not let anyone belittle your choice of exercise, do not let anyone belittle you because aside from decent footwear (essential!) you are not paying fees to exercise. Exercise does not and should not cost you money. So come on, are you coming for a walk?