Why Aren't We All Walking?
Why Everyone Should Walk More:
For the past three months, while all the gyms within a 100-mile radius have been closed, I have turned to my last resort for physical activity: walking.
And surprisingly, it has been awesome.
I’m someone who comes from a relatively athletic background. Gymnastics, tennis, softball, volleyball, basketball, boxing, and weightlifting were among some of my hobbies growing up. But ever since I’ve been walking 3-6 miles everyday for the past 14 weeks, I’ve never felt better.
And while it may initially seem like something only for retired women or parents trying desperately to get their kids out of the house, walking just thirty minutes each day may be the best thing that anyone could be doing for their health.
Trust me, I know from firsthand experience.
Walking is a Great Way to Lose Weight
Walking is a form of cardio, but unlike running or biking it is one that requires much lower impact. In the health world, this is called LISS cardio (or Low Impact Steady State), where someone is moving for a prolonged amount of time, keeping their heart rate pumping for 40-60 minutes. So while running may get you to burn those calories faster, people can walk for a longer period of time, and if you’re not a great runner, walking is a much more sustainable form of exercise that can over time burn more calories.
Walking is Great For Mental Health
All forms of exercise are great for mental health, because the blood gets circulating and the endorphins--our body’s natural opiates--begins firing. Unlike chemically induced opiates, however, numerous studies have found that an endorphin release can naturally reduce stress, boost self-esteem, and help depressive symptoms. Walking can also help with sleep, make you feel more energized, and improve your self-perception.
While faster walkers may experience these results more than slower walkers, any form of exercise for the body can have monumental results for mental well-being.
Walking is So Cheap and So Easy
Unlike running, walking doesn’t require any super fancy Nike Pro shoes or brand name leggings or Equinox gym memberships. All you need is yourself, two working feet, and a walkable surface, and voila, you have yourself a thirty minute to an hour workout. It’s a cheap, easy, excuse-free way to get outside and get your body moving.
Walking Will Increase the Length and Quality of Life
Many studies have proven walking to be a great way to lengthen your life. It reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, boosts immune functions, and prevents arthritis. Put that all together, and a person will live for much longer without constant health and immunity issues. With the added benefit of endorphins and creating a healthier lifestyle, a person will experience both longevity and quality in life as a result of long-term walking.
Walking is Versatile
Above all else, walking may be the most versatile exercise activity out there. You can walk in the morning, midday, afternoon, midnight. You can listen to music or an audiobook, respond to emails, play a mobile game (Pokemon Go has been a recent favorite), walk a dog, talk with friends, or just go out and enjoy nature.
It is even versatile to your mood. Having a bad day? Take a walk to clear your head. Angry? Walk to blow off steam. Happy? Listen to your favorite songs. No matter the mood or reason, everyone can find something different to get out of their walk.
. . .
Walking is the most universal form of exercise. Whether you’re an athlete, an accountant, an artist, or someone who just enjoys audiobooks, walking is a common experience that is both good for your physical and mental health and should be something that we all do more often.
So get out there, stay safe, and walk on!