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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Walking: An Underrated Form Of Exercise

Yoga, pilates, running, HIIT...they're all hyped up forms of exercise, and rightly so, but there's another form of exercise that doesn't get the same attention when actually it's one of the best ways to get your activity levels up!

I'm talking walking! Walking is a great, easy, low-impact way to stay active, improve your fitness and get some fresh air but I think it's such an underrated form of exercise. Sure, it probably shouldn't be the only form of exercise you do but walking is brilliant for your body, it calms the mind and it can be super fun too! Whether it's a quick 30 minute walk around the park or a long hike I'm here to encourage you to walk more and explain why I'm trying to do it more often.

I've always had dogs so I've always been a walker, but recently I haven't been walking quite as much just because I've been so busy with work and have been focusing on more intense forms of exercise like HIIT alongside gentle yoga. A few weeks ago I decided I wanted to get outside to exercise and since then I've been going for walks most days and loving it! Yes, it doesn't make me work up a sweat quite like an intense circuits session will but it gets my heart pumping, the blood flowing and my mental clarity has improved.

The Benefits
Going for a brisk walk every day (minimum 30 minutes) has endless benefits! It can reduce your risk of heart disease, control blood pressure, lower levels of bad cholesterol and reduce your risk of suffering from a stroke. A regular walker will also slash their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 60%!

Who doesn't want a toned bum, legs and a flat tummy? Walking helps achieve definition to this areas and shed fat. You should aim to include some hill walks and always pay attention to your posture as this will support your abs and back.

Vitamin D is a vitamin we get from the sun and it's extremely important for bone health, immune function and happiness levels. Getting outdoors during your walk means your boosting those amazing vitamin D levels in your body.

I could go on and on, but my last point is that walking makes you happy! Yes, you know I'm all about anything happiness-boosting and studies have shown a regular brisk walks to be as effective as antidepressants as it releases the feel-good endorphins in the brain which not only makes you happier but calmer and more positive too.

Getting Started
If you don't fancy just going out for the sake of a walk why not try walking to the shops instead of getting the car or when you and your bestie next meet up why don't you suggest a walk in the park instead of a drink at the pub (or do walk then pub after!)? Start with at least a 30 minute walk 5 times a week and go from excuses!

Making It Fun
Walking doesn't have to be dull or boring, it can be super fun! You could go for a nice long walk with a ground of friends - chat and gossip at the same time, take your dog with you - seeing their happy faces and waggy tails on a week is the best or go somewhere new to explore. You could also make a walking play list and listen to that as you have your stroll, perhaps throw in a few dance moves as you're walking along too....why not?!

Track Your Walks
I've really got into tracking my walks recently - I can see how far I've gone, how long it took me and the route I took. It's interesting to look back on as your fitness improves and you go a little further each time. I like the Nike Running app (you can just use it for walking!) and Map My Walk is great too! I'd also suggest downloading the Earth Miles app - this is an app that tracks your activity levels and rewards you for how active you've been, so it'll tell you how many kms you've walked in a day and the more you walk the more points you get! These points can then be exchanged for discount codes in all sorts of shops and online really encourages me to get moving more, they've got some great deals on there!

Choose Green
Getting your feet moving anywhere is great, but if you can try and get into some greenery! Walking is a superb way to get into nature and studies have shown walking in green spaces is much more effective at reducing levels of stress and anxiety, and increase levels of concentration.

The best thing about walking is practically anyone can do it! No matter your age, weight or fitness level you can always walk. So, slip on those trainers and start moving those legs!

Live Happy, Live Healthy


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