Walking – exercise that is both fun and free
Getting fit and keeping active is essential for maintaining long-term health and well-being. If you’re looking for a simple and cheap way to stay fit and healthy as you age, walking could be just what the doctor ordered as its simple, cheap, has a lower injury rate than other exercises and you can do it with friends and see new sights at the same time!
Research has found that regular walking can help to reduce your risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity and some cancers.
Walking may also help lift your mood and improve sleep patterns through the production of chemicals in the brain including endorphins and serotonin. Studies indicate exercise may ease symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress.
Walking is also one of the most inexpensive ways to keep fit – and it’s incredibly social. It gives you the chance to explore your neighbourhood, discover new areas and say hello to people in your community – all while burning energy (calories or kilojoules) and working up a mild sweat. Walking is gentle on the body and a great way to ease back into exercise after you’ve taken a break or when you are a little older.
After Easter and all those Easter eggs –it is easy to find excuses why not to exercise but walking is just so universal, easy and fun. Think no strenuous workouts or purchasing costly indoor gym equipment.
Here we myth bust a few other excuses.
I get bored walking the same route: Craving variety? Investigate nearby bushwalks or try different routes. Walking can be social, so consider walking with friends, or joining a local walking group.
I don’t know how to begin: Overwhelmed by the thought of getting started?
Set small goals and have a destination and a purpose – like buying milk or meeting friends for coffee – is a great way to fit a walk into your existing routine.
I’m tired and don’t have any energy to go for a walk: You don’t have to start with 30-minute walks. Start slowly and begin with short 10-minute walks around the block, and stop for breaks. Incremental increases in your daily routine can be slowly adjusted over time to hit longer walking sessions.
Finally if that doesn’t spur you into action this could. Some of the most famous thinkers were walkers, Aristole walked and talked and his followers walked with him listening to him and reflecting on his words. William Wordsworth walked over 175,000 miles in his lifetime and said walking was a critical part of writing poetry and Charles Dickens was known to walk 20-30 miles a day. Whilst you wont meet any of them when you walk you may be interested to get involved in some walking events or a walking group in your region. The next Dickens could be in your group.