In the summer of 2019, I started taking breaks during the day and going for a walk around the neighborhood where my office was located then. It was peaceful and gave me a renewed energy for the rest of my day. I even invited people to join in the healthy fun.
Walking with people is fun but I also really have come to value my walks alone to give me time to relax and reflect. I can assure you that walking is a valuable exercise and encourage you to not blow it off as not enough exercise to be a benefit to your health.
When I first started going on walks, I was pleasantly surprised at what a great stress reliever it was! I knew it was healthy but didn’t realize how much it would improve my emotional well-being. I will talk more about endorphins later, but the steady and focused gait can help refresh your mind and get it off life things that might be causing stress.
Another fact that you might find surprising is that exercise actually can increase your energy. Newton’s first law of motion basically says that an object in motion stays in motion and I can verify that’s true! I’ve found that if I take a short walk during the day, I don’t need my afternoon coffee and I feel more energized throughout the day.
It would be easy to believe that walking is a low-impact exercise so it must be low quality. Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, too much high-impact exercise can be harmful because it releases cortisol, which increases stress. Walking releases endorphins, which reduces stress.
I tend to try and get the recommended 10,000 steps in a day. I’m often asked why that number? At first, it was just what was recommended by the companies who created the different step monitors and people jumped on the bandwagon. Studies have since shown the value of making sure you do something as simple as getting enough steps in during the day.
The weather is improving and walking is something that can even be done in the mall if the weather is unpleasant. I hope that you will consider taking up this exercise either on your own or with your family or friends. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference!