Walking is Simple, Free & Easy.
The nations 3rd lockdown presents us with the same challenges as lockdown 1 did, just this time, it’s colder, darker and we’re all a bit more fed up. Shops are closed, gyms, swimming pools and all our fun spaces are closed. However, the streets, parks and footpaths are open for our daily allocated exercise and a daily walk is an option to a lot of us.
So what are some of the benefits of walking?
First of all, a walk is simple, it’s free and it’s easy. Also, in these COVID times, it’s also socially distanced and whether you are following the restrictions to the letter, or a Covid-19 denier, the simple act of going for a brisk daily walk will not upset anyone and won’t leave you open to public / neighbourhood frowning.
So, we’ve covered the simplicity and ones social responsibility, but what about the actual health benefits of walking? I’ve seen some wild claims that “some studies” claim are a benefit – improving eyeballs is a particular favourite so far. However, a brisk walk has health benefits that actually make sense without the need for studies & scientific jargon.
- Improve your mood & mental health. Once you are out in the fresh air, the constant change in scenery and the physical energy your body is using can have a mood lifting effect. “Blowing the cobwebs” away is an old phrase, but it’s an accurate description.
- Alleviate joint pain and help maintain a healthy heart. Walking increases blood flow which in turn helps to strengthen the muscles surrounding joints – our bodies really are magnificently put together!
- Improve digestion. Lets face it, we’re talking bowel movement here! Walking utilizes abdominal muscles which encourages movement in the GI system. Which then helps you poo better. Who needs excess bowel contents!?!
- Help you to sleep better at night. Basically, a bit of exertion, a bit of energy and a blast of fresh air can only assist with sleeping. Apparently also, when we exercise, we naturally boost the effects of melatonin, which is a sleep hormone. I know it’s not always as simple as move more – sleep more, as sometimes our mental wellbeing is just not peaceful enough – but refer to the first point on this list; walking CAN help with your peace of mind.
But what about our actual motivation to produce these wonderful aforementioned health benefits? Mind over matter and all that. As someone who once completed a 5k run and now can’t even find the motivation to run a bath, I know first hand the difficulty when ones “get up and go has got up and gone”. Book mark me and check back next week for another blog post.