As the weather gets warmer, you may be looking for more ways to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. One of my favorite warm weather workouts is simply lacing up my tennis shoes and going outside for a walk. You may be wondering, is walking good exercise? Absolutely! Walking is an excellent low-impact workout that offers a number of health benefits (more on those below), and just 10 extra minutes of walking per day could even help you live longer. Keep reading to learn the health benefits of daily walks and how to incorporate more movement into your day.
By maintaining a regular walking routine, you reap numerous benefits, including lowered blood pressure, improved heart health, and increased bone and muscle strength. You might even find yourself getting a better night’s sleep! In addition to the physical benefits, walking can provide some major mental health benefits: Getting physical exercise can significantly improve your mood, relieve depression symptoms, and lower stress levels.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends adults between the ages of 18 to 64 get between 150 to 300 hours of moderate physical activity per week. That’s the equivalent of just over 20 minutes of brisk walking every day. Now, this begs the question: How can you motivate yourself to lace up your walking shoes and get moving?
Whether you sit behind a desk all day or are on your feet 24/7, we can all benefit from incorporating more movement into our daily lives. Here are a few tips to help jumpstart your walking routine:
Make it social. Create or join a walking group! Walking with others helps motivate you, so your physical activity level actually improves by walking with a group of peers versus walking on your own. Consider recruiting a few neighbors, family members, or friends to join you on your daily walks.
Set a daily walking goal. Once you’ve worked your way up to daily 20 minute walks, consider a goal that exceeds this minimum. You can break up your walking routine in short exercise bursts throughout your days, such as a 20-minute walk before your day starts, another walk at lunch, and one after dinner.
Use the time to clear your mind. The next time you feel overwhelmed, consider going for a walk to clear your mind. Walking can actually help you problem-solve better! In fact, many organizations implement “walking meetings” to encourage creative thinking and solutions, so consider taking a brisk walk to boost your creativity.
Go for a nature walk to boost your mood. Consider taking your daily walk through a local park to help boost your well-being. Going for a walk near forested areas can actually reduce negative moods, such as hostility, confusion, and fatigue, so grab your walking buddy and find somewhere new to explore!
Invest in a treadmill. If you want to get your daily steps in no matter the time of day and make it as easy on yourself as possible, consider buying a treadmill. That way, you can walk at any time and still reap the health benefits. Plus, walking on a treadmill can help you improve your balance and can be easier on your joints than walking outside. If you want to walk and work up a sweat, download Nina Agdal’s fitness app to access her 30-Minute Treadmill workout, which features power walking on incline.
Walking daily has major physical and mental health benefits that will have you reaping the rewards far quicker than you realize. So, is walking good exercise? You bet it is — grab your sneakers and go for a walk!
About the author
Nicole Pyles is a writer living in Portland, Oregon. Her writing has appeared in Ripley's Believe it or Not, WOW! Women on Writing, Sky Island Journal, and The Voices Project. When she's not writing, she loves spending time with family, watching movies, and reading books. Say hi on Twitter @BeingTheWriter.