It may not be 'flashy' or 'cool' but walking regularly has benefits that are equally as impressive as those often gained from other sporting activities. It’s also a pretty awesome way to get out and see the beautiful world we live in!
Exercise is not purely physical, we aren’t just bodies that need exercising, we are continuously living in a to-and-fro system of both body and mind.
Ever growing scientific evidence proves that walking has benefits from helping you lose weight and de-stress to lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of many chronic diseases, going for regular walks is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health.
It's no wonder so many philosophers were keen walkers: exercise can be a commitment to wholeness. Physical and mental endeavours help us feel free and timeless.
If Darwin does it it must be true
Darwin would go for three 45-minute walks per day: the first before breakfast, the second before lunch and the third in the early evening. At the beginning of each day he would stack flint stones at the entrance of the pathway, knocking one over every time he completed a lap. Not only did this help him keep track of how far he’d walked, it helped him measure the difficulty of the issues he was working through.
It’s not just Darwin that loved walking, other influential characters like Steve Jobs, Charles Dickens, Beethoven, Obama… and many more - all believed that going for walks improves creative thinking and recharging the soul.
The Wonders of Walking
The great thing about walking is that it’s simple, it’s free and is an amazing way to exercise, lose weight and become healthier. You can easily build a walk into a busy lifestyle as you can do it pretty much anywhere, at any time - no fees, no time constraints and no need to spend copious amounts on fancy equipment. Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of walking for our health.
1. It keeps you fit
A brisk walk that elevates your heart rate is a great form of aerobic exercise. Doing this regularly helps you to get fitter so you will find it easier to be more active. Slow and steady trumps fast, furious, and inconsistent. Obviously this depends on your weight, but if you walk briskly at about 4 miles per hour for 30 minutes, you could burn around 150 calories which is awesome!
2. It reduces your risk of health conditions
Walking regularly can help reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure and strokes.
In fact, brisk walking is just as effective as running for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
3. It reduces stress
Walking is the perfect way to zone-out and rid yourself of those daily stresses. Plus, the exercise-induced endorphins released will leave you feeling better than ever by helping to improve your mood. It’s not just your mood that will benefit from this, smiling is contagious. It’s crazy how a simple smile can mean the world to somebody else. Try it yourself! Go give someone a smile, only good things can come of it.
4. It can boost your energy levels
This is especially good if you choose to go out for a walk with friends. You’ll be able to exercise, and catch up with friends! It really is a win-win. Oh, and light exercise can leave you feeling great afterwards.
5. It’s good for the environment, and your pocket!
Do your bit for the planet, walking instead of driving means you’re reducing the amount of pollution released into the air, which helps to improve the air quality, high five Mother Earth! Cutting down on commuting costs is a double whammy for both you and the environment. You don’t have to sign up to expensive gym classes as you can get plenty of exercise in for FREE! No more worries about traffic jams or public transport delays.
6. Improves Sleep
Adding more activity to your daily routine can help improve the quality of your sleep, meaning you feel more rested in the morning. As mentioned in our blog about the benefits of being outside, exposing yourself to sunlight during the day can increase your melatonin production at night. Sweet dreams!
So all in all, walking is pretty simple, and pretty awesome.
If you work on making it part of your routine, you won’t look back. Here’s some ideas where you could slip some walking in.
walk to work, or to the station or bus stop
Use your lunch break to go for a stroll
Pop to the shops on foot rather than taking the car
Take the stairs instead of the lift
Catch up with friends for a walk
Our Walk of the Week YouTube Series!
So get yourself outside and have an explore of your local area. If you’re from Cardiff and want to find some new amazing walks on your doorstep, check out our Walk of the Week series, where we’ve filmed 10 of the best walking spots right on our doorstep. Whether you’re local or not, you’ll be sure to enjoy our Walk of the Week series. Read more here!