Moving your body is a powerful practice.
From the beginning of time, humans were made to move. We scoured the land and hunted for food in order to survive. Over time, we evolved. Our lives got easier and easier. Technology advanced, and with it came greater accessibility to all of life’s pleasures.
Nowadays, you don’t even have to leave your doorstep to get food. There are apps that allow other people to grocery shop for you, or deliver food from any restaurant you’d like. While it seems like our lives have improved in every way possible, this is unfortunately not the case.
People move less than ever before. And this lack of movement paired with the typical American diet has led to a host of health problems for a good portion of the population.
Fortunately, everyone has the ability to make healthy changes and rewrite their own story. I know because just five short years ago, I was that person who couldn’t go a meal without processed food in the form of cereal, ice cream, a granola bar, etc.
And a great way to jumpstart your health and fitness journey is by getting outside for some fresh air and exercise. The simplest way to do this is by taking a walk.
There’s actually a specific length of time recommended to optimize the benefits of exercising, and it’s much shorter than you might think. Just 30 minutes of walking each day can impact your health in the following positive ways.
It improves brain function as a result of impact.
No wonder some of my most creative ideas seem to come to me during a walk or run. Studies have actually confirmed that walking can benefit the brain.
In fact, researchers at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) found that:
“The foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly modify and can increase the supply of blood to the brain.”
I have always been someone who loves learning and utilizing my brain power every single day. After all, if you aren’t learning and changing, then you aren’t growing as a person.
No one on this planet goes through life without making mistakes. I have certainly made my fair share of them. However, I always try to acknowledge when I am in the wrong. You have to accept your mistakes, but also learn from them and grow from them.
Your mind is a powerful tool that aids with this kind of learning and growth. Thus, using brain boosting methods such as walking will help you become a mentally stronger individual and get those creative juices flowing.
It promotes weight loss.
Now, this one may seem obvious. Exercising in general burns calories, thus helping you lose weight. However, the key difference here is that walking is a low impact form of exercise that almost anyone can do.
Thus, it is great for beginners who are trying to work up to running, or for those who can’t withstand the impact of it.
According to Women’s Health:
“As a form of low-impact cardio, a daily stroll boosts your metabolism, is easier on your joints than running and most importantly, gets you outside each day.”
So, if you are just starting your health and fitness journey, a gentle form of exercise, such as walking, might be just what you need. And if you can’t make it 30 minutes, that is completely ok.
You can always work up to it. Set a realistic goal for yourself. Maybe that is walking a block or two to begin with. Maybe it’s alternating five minutes of walking with five minutes of running. Whatever method you choose, remember to be gentle and kind to yourself.
Even a lifelong athlete such as myself, who ran 60 miles a week in college, built up to it gradually over time. If you had told me in high school that four years later I would be running double my weekly mileage, I would have thought you were crazy.
The point is, everyone is at a different fitness level. Focus on bettering yourself each week, and don’t compare your journey to someone else’s. The key is to make sure you’re moving your body in a way that feels good, and adds happiness and value to your own life.
It can help you live longer.
Even walking for a short period of time each day strengthens your heart and lungs. This is incredibly beneficial because it decreases your risk of deadly diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
In fact, according to Better Health:
“It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers”
Therefore, walking is an easy step you can take towards greater longevity. If it seems like an overwhelming task right now, remind yourself of the benefits you can gain as a result of putting in the effort each day. You can also make it more manageable by breaking the 30 minutes up into chunks.
I use the following method: Every hour or so, I get up from my desk chair and walk for about five minutes. Then, I get back to work with a fresh mind, and I actually find that this method helps me stay more focused and productive throughout the day. Plus, if you do this six or seven times, you will easily get about 30 - 35 minutes of walking in without having to take a huge chunk out of your day in order to do so.
The benefits of walking just 30 minutes each day are incredible. It takes less time than cooking dinner or commuting to work and back.
By adding walking to my own routine, I’ve been able to think more clearly, reduce stress, promote longevity, boost productivity, and live an overall happier life.
Walking is a form of exercise that you can do each and every day, no matter your fitness or experience level. Don’t succumb to the sedentary lifestyle.Take the crucial first step, and prepare for the beautiful journey to greater health and happiness.