At least in our circle, it takes a unique human to enjoy traditional cardio exercise. Jogging, running, even sprinting. We really dislike it. We particularly dislike doing it on a boring treadmill indoors. However, there are clearly physical and mental benefits to cardio so often, we found ourselves in other activities such as jiu-jitsu or Muay Thai or other physical sports. In today’s COVID world, this is not necessarily something that is accessible. One thing that we all can do though is, take a walk. We have implemented daily hour-long walks into our routine and we want to share how this simple activity can change your life.
- It gets you outside. Unless you have a job where you are working outside, there is a pretty good chance you are stuck in an office or at least a building all day. And with the pandemic still carrying on and the weather less than perfect, you’re probably not getting much outdoor time. Making an outdoor walk part of your daily life forces you out in the sun where you can take in some vitamin D, work on your circadian rhythm and boost your mood.
- It increases your pulmonary and heart health. Walking for 30 minutes a day has been proven to improve both your lung functioning and your heart health. It reduces your risk of stroke and heart disease and just helps your overall heart and lung functionality.
- It is great for weight loss and a well-rounded fitness program. Believe it or not, keeping your heartbeat in the right zone is critical for weight loss and fitness. Pushing it too hard or not pushing it enough, can be equally detrimental to your goals. Walking roughly 10,000 steps per day, or around 5 miles for the average person, is one of the best things you can add to your daily fitness regimen.
- It can boost your immune system. A study of over 1000 men and women showed that those who walked at least 20 minutes per day, 5 days a week, took >40% less sick days than those who did not. And if they did manage to become ill, it was often for a shorter amount of time and milder than their non-walking peers.
- It is amazing for your mental health. Studies have shown that walking puts you in a positive mood, makes you more alert and can boost your energy. There is also evidence it can reduce the risk of major depression by more than 25%. Whether it is anxiety, depression, stress or even trauma, there is evidence that a daily walk can provide exceptional benefits.
- It helps you sleep. Getting some energy out on a daily walk can also help you to decompress and, properly adjust your levels so that you can rest well at night. It is more than just anecdotal evidence that a daily walk can help you sleep.
- It can help you feel a sense of gratitude. This is more of an intangible benefit but at least for us, walking outside on a sunny day really helps us to be thankful for what we have. To be well enough to walk a few miles, to have the sun on us, to take in the fresh air and to just be in the moment for a bit. We try to focus on the walk itself and not zone out or have our mind wander. We like to use it almost as a form of meditation to take in all that is around us and the act itself.
We have covered ways to fight the winter blues and walking is top of that list. Everyone has reasons (or excuses) why they cannot hit the gym, lift some weights, go for a run, play a sport etc. But almost everyone can get outside and walk at their own pace. If it’s cold, throw a coat on. If it’s hot, enjoy it and hydrate. Doing something good for your mind and your body does not always have to be physically demanding. Give it a try and we bet you’ll end up making it part of your daily discipline.