10 good reasons to go for a daily walk, and 5 tips for when you do
Here are ten great reasons to go for a daily walk.
One of the simplest ways to stay fit and improve your mental and physical wellbeing is to go for a walk every day. Not only is it simple to do, but you also don’t need any specialist kit and there aren’t the expensive subscriptions associated with other fitness activities.
Read about ten of the benefits of a regular daily walk, with an added bonus of five simple tips to help you enjoy and get the most from your walk.
- Regular walking improves your health – Because walking isn’t necessarily seen as exercise – after all, it’s something nearly everyone does every day – the health benefits are often overlooked. However, from improving your lung capacity and the health of your heart to helping keep your muscles and joints active, a daily walk can provide the regular aerobic exercise you need to improve and maintain your overall health.
- It helps you lose weight through burning calories – If you’re looking to lose weight, a regular walk is a good place to start. An average person of 13 stone (83 kg) will burn 300 calories walking at a steady pace of 3.5 miles per hour for sixty minutes. More strenuous walking will obviously increase that figure. Unlike other forms of exercise, such as going to the gym, there’s no subscription. And, unlike other ways of reducing your calorie levels, such as dieting, there’s no temptation or frustration over what you can and can’t eat.
- Walking improves your mood and reduces stress – The mental wellbeing benefits of regular walking are often overlooked. Switching off completely or taking the opportunity to think through issues without interruption is invaluable. Alternatively, if you don’t have any specific problems to think about, you can just empty your mind and listen to some music through headphones – or even just listen to the birds sing and enjoy the connection with nature.
- Walking provides a break from the daily routine – Regardless of what you do during the day, it’s inevitable that, at times, you’re likely to get bored or feel you’re in a rut and that things are becoming repetitive. This applies if you’re at home or working in an office. A daily walk can help break the routine, refresh you, and help clear your mind.
- It can help prompt and create other positive routines – As you start walking regularly and it becomes a natural part of your daily routine, it’s very likely to create a positive knock-on effect leading to other healthy routines. You’ll start feeling the health benefits relatively quickly and this could encourage you to look for other ways of improving your health – maybe changing your diet, or taking part in other, more strenuous activities that you might not have felt like doing before.
- It can become part of your ‘working from home’ routine – One obvious impact of the lockdown caused by Covid-19 has been a dramatic increase in the number of people working from home. There are signs that many companies may well continue to encourage this even when it becomes safe to start working normally again. If you are working from home, one way to incorporate a daily walk, or two, into your daily routine is to go for a walk before starting work – the walk effectively becoming your ‘journey to work’. If that isn’t possible, consider walking once you’ve finished work so the end of your walk becomes your ‘arriving home’ from a day at work. In both cases, the walk creates a demarcation between your home and work – even though the location may well be the same.
- Walking becomes a new part of your working day – Once you’ve established a daily walk as part of your routine, it should be quite straightforward to incorporate it into your working day. ‘Walking meetings’ are becoming increasingly popular in many offices, allowing people to step away from the office environment to discuss business issues, or just a general catch-up – maybe with one of you taking a simple voice recording device to take notes if required. You can also use your walk as an opportunity for some thinking time away from your desk if you have a particular problem to mull over in your mind.
- It saves you money – As well as health and wellbeing benefits, a regular walk can also save you money. If you’re going on a journey where you’d normally use your car or public transport, consider walking instead. You’ll save money on fares or petrol, and you’re helping the environment. If you commute or drive to work every day, maybe think about walking the journey one day a week.
- It improves your thinking process and creativity – Leaving your desk or workspace and going for a walk can help clear your mind and get you away from your daily clutter of emails, notes and messages. Taking a step back in this way gives you time to think about key issues and projects without interruption or distraction.
- Walking helps you to sleep at night – The regular exercise provided by a daily walk will help reduce your levels of stress and worry, which are two of the most common reasons for not being able to sleep properly.
5 tips to help you make the most of your daily walk
- Try and vary your route. As you start walking regularly, you’ll get to know the area around where you live and work. Try and choose different routes so you avoid the ‘treadmill’ effect of simply seeing the same scenery day after day.
- If it’s a casual walk, rather than a walk for a specific purpose, try and look for parks and open spaces to incorporate into your route. They’ll be quieter and the air quality will be better. They’ll also give you the chance to connect with the environment, which is ideal if you want to ‘zone out’ and relax while you’re walking.
- Maintain a steady pace. There’s no correct speed to walk at because everyone is different. However, the general rule of thumb is that distance is more important than pace in terms of getting general health benefits from walking. Find a comfortable pace that suits you and stick to it.
- Make sure you wear comfortable shoes that are appropriate for the ground you’re walking on. Blisters are no fun, especially as you’ll have to walk home with them, so wear sensible shoes and socks. Harder wearing walking boots may well be advisable if your route takes you over rougher ground.
- Find a companion – or even get a dog! As well as providing you with company, finding a regular walking partner will give you an extra incentive to maintain your daily routine. You’ll encourage each other, and the subtle peer pressure means you’re less likely to miss a walk – and vice versa. Alternatively, any dog owner will tell you that there’s no better excuse for a walk than a four-legged friend – though be aware that they’ll get tired far less quickly than you will!