Walking is the most underrated form of exercise. Perhaps we’ve chosen to demote the activity in light of rising fitness trends that promise buckets of sweat and insane results. Whatever the reason, walking needs to reenter our vocabulary as a a legitimate activity that helps us stay healthy and fit in a multitude of ways.
Has anyone ever looked at you when youʼre angry or in a bad mood and said, “Why donʼt you just go and walk it off”? Our body’s reaction to anger – shallow breathing, clenched ﬁsts and teeth, tightening of muscles, and the urge to pound out of the room – is hard on our body and mind. From the smallest annoyance to big problems, anger can also wreak havoc on our ability to think clearly and make the right choices. Having a standby plan for acknowledging the anger and releasing it is critical for a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Walking outside in the fresh air is the easiest way to deflate some of those feelings. Fresh air, a change of scenery, and some fresh blood circulating can go a long way.
Walking, as part of an exercise plan, is helpful in keeping muscles, joints, and blood ﬂow in a smooth working order. And, not every walk needs to be a power walk to the ﬁnish. Even causal walking gets your body moving in a rhythm that is relaxing, gets blood pumping, and delivers more oxygen to your brain for clearer thinking and decision making.
At the end of a day, when the list of things that you didnʼt get done is staring you in the face, you can work yourself into a panic and and make things worse by losing sleep over it. If your to do list is filled with critical or non-critical items, there is no need to just accept the fact that you won’t be getting any rest. A short stroll before bed can make you feel better about yourself, promote a positive attitude, and expel any angst or nervous energy you may be feeling. While on your walk, tell yourself things can wait, and then make a plan to attack your tasks first thing in the morning. Having a plan will let your mind know that it’s ok to put away the worry for the night – you’ve got it handled.
Reverse the Curse
People who struggle with their weight may be happy to know that humans can be genetically predisposed to obesity – taking the pressure off doing something about it. But, donʼt get too excited about that fact yet. Data has been taken on 2 studies with 7,740 women and 4,564 men that proves that a brisk 1 hour walk a day, can cut that tendency in half.
Get Digestion Started
A drawn out dinner hour with pleasant conversation doesn’t seem to come along as often as weʼd like. Parents scramble around to put meals together in time to get children to activities or back to work of their own. When we finally sit down to eat, food is mindlessly eaten. With all good intentions, a business dinner can turn out to be too much food accompanied by tense conversation. An after dinner walk, not only releases the day’s tension but helps with digestion. Wait 10-20 minutes, and start slowly.
The Bottom Line
Maintaining harmony in work, relationships, and an ever-growing list of responsibilities is a balancing act. Walking is easy, free, and can be done anywhere. Although it seems simple enough, in the thick of things, itʼs easy to forget how making walking a part of your routine can help you to live a healthy, balanced lifestyle.