One of my personal daily self care musts is to go for a walk. I know, it doesn’t sound like much, but the benefits of walking are seriously fascinating and go so much farther than simply giving those muscles a workout. And the best part – it’s pretty easy to get on board.
Walking doesn’t require a gym membership or any expensive equipment. And you don’t need to be Duke Nukem to be good at it. If you’re fortunate enough to have two good legs that can bear your weight you can easily reap the rewards of this simple, fantastic activity!
So let’s get our walking shoes laced up and talk about how walking seriously benefits you mentally, physically and emotionally.
The benefits of walking are pretty flipping cool guys – I’m really excited for you to take all of this goodness in.
Walking Gets Those Creative Juices Flowing
I bet you thought I was going to stick to the benefits of walking as an exercise on this one. But surprise, surprise, I’ve got some extra juice to share. I’m sure you didn’t think creativity would find it’s way onto this list! But seriously, walking really does help to boost those creative thoughts.
Sounds kinda bonkers right? Let’s look to Marily Oppezzo for answers.
Marily Oppezzo is a behavioral and learning scientist as well as an Instructor of Medicine at the Stanford Prevention Research Center (smart cookie!) This incredible woman studies how moving your body can affect your mind. And her research on walking is flipping fascinating!
Her team focused on how walking affects how you come up with creative ideas. When test subjects were allowed to go for a walk they were twice as creative as their sitting counterparts. And the coolest thing? The creative boost lasts! Even when they were instructed to sit for the next round of tests, the walkers still outsmarted those who sat the entire time. (source)
What does this mean for you?
Next time you have a meeting or need to come up with a creative idea, go for a walk! According to Ms. Oppezzo you should follow these 5 rules:
- Pick a topic to focus on
- Walk at a comfortable pace
- Come up with as many ideas as you can
- If possible, record them (so you remember) – you can easily do this with headphones and your cell
- Be patient with yourself – if the ideas aren’t flowing today that’s ok
Why not just write your ideas down?
While writing your ideas down might seem like the best idea, when trying to be as creative as possible it’s best to remain in a state where we aren’t judging our thoughts. Overthinking things is the enemy of creativity. But when you allow your thoughts to simply flow, without hesitation or judgement you become more creative and expressive. And that’s where all the good ideas come from.
Related: 5 Goal Setting Tips That Will Help You Achieve Your Dreams In A Healthy Way
Walking is a Fantastic Way to Exercise
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, we should be getting (at the bare minimum) 150 minutes of moderate exercise and 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week (source). If that seems like a heck of a lot of minutes think about it this way – if you go for a 30 minute walk every day that’s 210 minutes a week. Bam! Moderate exercise needs met and exceeded. Not so bad, eh?
My favourite part – a walk doesn’t feel like work. It’s relaxing and enjoyable. Which, in my opinion, makes for a pretty awesome go to workout. If it doesn’t feel like work it’s a lot easier to stick to it. You might not feel like going to the gym after a long day at work. But a walk is a great way to clear your mind, relax and get a workout in. It’s basically all win!
Related: Why You Totally Need to Try a Jump Rope Workout
But is walking really that good of a form of exercise?
Heck yes it is! One of the benefits of walking on the regular is that it helps to lower the risk of heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancers and even depression. Routinely going for a brisk walk can also help you maintain a healthy weight (or find your way to one), improve the quality of your sleep and, in older walkers, even delays the onset of dementia (woah!) (source)
The goodness doesn’t stop there! This low-impact weight-bearing exercises (I know weight bearing sounds weird, but you are literally bearing your own weight as you walk) has even more to offer. Here are a few more benefits of walking from The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety:
- Lowering blood pressure
- Reducing cholesterol levels
- Increasing bone density, thus helping to prevent osteoporosis
- Strengthening your muscles
- Increasing flexibility, balance and coordination
- Managing the effects of osteoarthritis
- Easing back pain
That’s a lot of reward for basically no risk, right? Just wear good shoes!
Walking Can Improve Your Mood
A brisk walk in the great outdoors can actually help to reduce feelings of depression! Say what?! That’s pretty freaking amazing, right? But is it too good to be true?
According to this study in the Journal of Mental Health and Physical Activity, walking can have a significant effect on the symptoms of depression. While they stress that more studies are definitely needed, the current data is promising!
And hey, there’s more to be excited about. One study concluded that 200 minutes of walking every week can leave us feeling more energized and create a positive emotional health. It even makes us more likely to socialize. Those who took part still felt less limited by their depression 3 years later! And remember, we totally surpass that 200 minute mark if we go for a short, 30 minute walk every day.
Even if you aren’t dealing with depression, one of the awesome benefits of walking is that it can still boost your physical and emotional well-being.
How does it work?
According to Dr. Adrian Taylor, Professor of Health Service Research at Plymouth University Peninsula Schools of Medicine and Dentistry, the true reason exercise makes us feel so good is unknown. It’s believed that exercise may distract us from our worries, give us a sense of control and release “feel-good” hormones (source). But they’re still looking into the exact reason why it works so well.
Walking is a Wonderful Form of Self Care
I feel that’s already pretty clear, with all of the awesome benefits of walking that we just covered. But there’s so much more to it than that. Walking is an opportunity for mindfulness; it allows us to simply exist in the present moment and enjoy the scenery. It can be a form of moving meditation and allow us to truly connect with ourselves. In this age of over stimulation, walking can give us the opportunity to disconnect and give our beautiful brains a break.
And hey, it can happen anywhere – one of the benefits of walking is that it’s an opportunity for adventure. We don’t even have to do it solo. Enjoy the scenery, be alone with your thoughts or roam in good company. It’s completely up to you.
Feeling a little info overload?
Don’t you worry! I’ve got a free download with all this goodness in point form and a pretty nifty bonus section. You can get it right here:
Do you like to go for a walk every day? Do you enjoy it as a form of you time or a chance to bond with the people you love? What’s your favourite form of exercise? Let me know in the comments below.
Health and love,
Thought of the day: There is often more than meets the eye.
Fantastic information. Never new it was that good for you
It’s so awesome, eh Gina? I love how the simplest things can have the most amazing effects on your well-being! I hope you get to enjoy a nice, long walk soon :).
I am so pumped that the weather is starting to get better here in Minnesota so my daughter and I can add out daily walks back into our routine. I feel so energized when I am able to make it a priority
Oh I hope the warm weather finds you soon. It really is a wonderful addition to your day! And such a nice thing to to in good company. Wishing you sunshine and warmer weather <3
Christine A Howard
It is so important to get active. I am so happy my husband and I have started a fitness program again.
That’s so awesome Christine! It really is important to find ways to move your body every day :). I hope you two have a blast. What a wonderful thing to do together. ^^
GiGi Eats Celebrities
I start my day EVERY DAY with exercise because I know I will be so much more level headed post work out!
It really makes you feel amazing! It’s funny how exercise is something we often put off but we always feel so damn good when we do it. Glad you’ve developed a routine you adore Gigi! That’s wonderful 🙂
This makes me think I need to tie on some walking shoes and get out there! So many benefits. Now that I think about it- I do get the best ideas when I’m going for a quiet walk- no electronics to distract me!
Yes! Definitely lace up those shoes ^^. It’s pretty wonderful what a little time in the great outdoors can do for your creativity. And it’s just so relaxing! I hope you get a good walk in soon Jamie. <3 Have a gorgeous day :)
I have neglected my walking routine and I am motivated to add your tips and get at it again. Thank you 😊
That’s so wonderful to hear Roger! I hope you have fun rediscovering an old self care favourite. It’s too good to miss out on ^^.
Dr. Elise Ho
I love wlking and encourage everyone to do it. I think it is so relaxing for the mind.
I’m so glad you do Dr. Elise! That’s wonderful advice. It’s such a great way to relax and unwind. 🙂 Hope you enjoy a nice, long one soon!
love it! I’ve definitely noticed my mood has improved so much since I started waking up early 🙂
walking early after waking up*
What a lovely way to start the morning Ivana! I’m so glad that it’s been such a wonderful addition to your routine. I love how the simplest things can make the most amazing impacts on our daily lives! Hope this continues to be a fun and positive way to greet the morning. 🙂
I love to walk. I struggle with chronic pain and fatigue issues and walking is low impact enough that I can handle it. I’m glad to know it’s even better for me than I realized!
I’m so glad that walking is a good option for you hun! That’s awesome. And it really is doing tons and tons for your well-being. So it’s all win!
I’m sorry to hear that you’re dealing with chronic pain and fatigue. My mom has osteoarthritis and the pain can limit was she’s able to do. She loves aqua aerobics because the water really reduces the impact for her (and I love to go with her when I’m in town – it’s super fun!) Have you ever tried it? I thought I’d mention it in case you want more fun ways to move your body without causing any extra irritation.
Wishing you a beautiful day! I hope you get to enjoy a nice walk soon <3
I have to get back into this! I find the habit I actually form is wanting to go see “my places” and detect change. Anything to make it a habit, right?
Hope you have fun getting back into walking Penny! There are so many ways to make it your own. I’m sure you can make it a habit again in no time 🙂
So many great benefits to a walk- nothing like one to clear your mind and work through things.
I couldn’t agree more Jonathan! It really is a nice way to unwind. I hope you enjoy some time walking in the great outdoors soon :). Wishing you a wonderful day!
One of my 2018 goals was to go for more walks. I just have a hard time being motivated especially in the winter when it’s -9 degrees F…. I really love the idea of recording yourself while you walk (I talk aloud to myself a lot, and sometimes come up with great new ideas for the blog while I do it)
I can definitely understand that one Hannah! It gets really cold here too. My hubby and I like to make it fun by bundling up and playing in the snow as we go. Although it is definitely harder to move with all he layers haha. But we have a blast. And the good news is that spring will find us soon. It’s right around the corner.
Have fun knocking that goal out of the park Hannah! You totally got this. Hope you enjoy your next walk <3
I didn’t know there were so many benefits! I used to walk every day years ago, but I think I’ll start doing it again.
I’m so happy you’re feeling inspired to lace up those walking shoes and get out there again! That’s awesome! I hope you have a wonderful time. And hey – there’s so many health benefits, you’ll be reaping tons of rewards! <3 Wishing you well 🙂
I try my best to go for a walk every single morning! It honestly sets the mood for the entire day and has me feeling energized. Thanks for encouraging us to get out there Sara! 🙂
What an awesome morning tradition Maya! That’s such a great way to greet the morning. I’m glad you make self care a daily priority – that’s so wonderful! Wishing you a wonderful walk tomorrow morning 🙂
Nikita | nikitarose.com
I am so lucky where I live there are very nice walking tracks around the lake. My husband and I really enjoy walking them after work. It is such a simple pleasure 😊
Oh that sounds so lovely Nikita! We have beautiful trails around the river here too. Isn’t the scenery on trails like that just so incredible? It definitely adds to the experience. I’m really happy you and your hubby have such a wonderful spot to enjoy a daily walk together. Such a great way to end the work day together. Have a wonderful walk today <3. Wishing you well!