Why walking is one of the best uses of your time for health.
The bulk of my business specializes in fitness, and weight loss, and the number one reason for not exercising is “I don’t have enough time.” However, in my opinion, it's not time we are lacking but energy. Think about it, if we had better and more energy, we could get things done quicker and more efficiently, which would free up time.
This is why I work with my clients to create more energy via certain exercises and nutrition but also why I love walking, as you can get more done than you can in other intense exercise classes.
Think about it, could you check off your “must call back” to-do list, create your next big idea, or completely zone out in a HIIT or Pilates class without worrying that you will end up with a strap around your head or miss that jump box and land on your face…ouch!
Walk for your mind.
Stanford University did a study that found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent. Researchers labeled this type of creativity “divergent thinking,” which they define as a thought, the process used to generate creative ideas by exploring many possible solutions.
According to the study, “walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.” Which makes sense since science shows that engaging in activities that allow our minds to wander promotes a mental state conducive to innovative ideas and “ah-ha!” moments.
Because you deserve me time.
In addition to the creative output, walking gives you it’s also a great opportunity to catch up with friends either in person (if we are allowed) or on the phone. We all know now how important staying in touch with friends and family is to our overall mental health. This brings me to the stress release walking can provide for some.
One study found that just 12 minutes of walking increased joviality, vigor, attentiveness, and self-confidence versus the same time spent sitting. Walking in nature, specifically, was found to reduce ruminating over negative experiences, which increases activity in the brain associated with negative emotions and raises the risk of depression. Walking with music has also been proven to boost mood and confidence.
Now the big question is when it comes to walking, do we swap out running for our other exercise?
This is a loaded question as it comes down to an individual basis and what your goals are and starting fitness level is. If you are just staring back to exercise, then adding in walking is a great safe way to build up leg strength in addition to burning extra calories you weren’t before. If you have progressed and are able to safely perform more strenuous exercise, then adding in walking on those “active recovery days” has amazing results, too, as walking increasing circulation and blood flow.
In simple terms, walking can wear many hats, and all of those hats have a purpose, and they all look great. Happy walking!
With thanks to Rachel Rivers for this article.
Rachel is a Pilates Instructor, Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist (Bio-Mechanics), NLP Practitioner, and Pre and Post Natal trained. She holds a degree in Exercise Science and grew up as a competitive national tennis player. She now specializes in fitness, fat loss, and confidence for over 40's in addition to mobility and functional training.