Over the last year, we have spent far too much time sitting in a chair. We have spent an inordinate time in digital meetings. Our daily exercise routines have been disrupted. We have spent more time indoors than we normally do. And as a result, we have become a little bit plumper and we have lost muscle tone. And this is not good for us.
At the same time, we have learned how to be careful during an epidemic and we know how to take care of ourselves and limit risky exposure. We do not have to be confined indoors. And this brings sensible opportunities to losing the extra pounds and restore the lost muscle mass.
We should walk more. Yes, that’s right. Walking. It is cheap. It does not require special equipment or membership fees. You can build it into a permanent part of your daily routine.
Here are some thoughts on how to get the best out of walking.
Try to walk at least 30 minutes a day. If you can’t manage that, start with a shorter period and gradually build up the duration. If you don’t have a full 30 minutes available, split it up into shorter periods. They will add up to the same benefit.
Make walking a routine daily activity. Create a space in your diary and walk at the same time every day.
Encourage your friends, neighbors, or family members to walk with you. This way you fellow walkers will encourage you on those days when you would rather not walk. And yes, there will be those days.
Take the family dog for a walk with you. Those imploring eyes will make you so guilt-ridden, you will just have to go for a walk every day. And if you don’t have a dog, borrow the neighbour’s dog. The poor little pooches have been suffering from a lack of exercise too, and you will be providing a kind community service.
Most folks have smartphones these days. It’s easy to install a pedometer app on your phone, to count the number of steps you take every day. 10,000 steps a day seems to be the magic number but set a daily target that’s right for you.
Pay attention to your walking footwear. The wrong type of shoe or walking action can cause foot or shin pain, blisters, and injuries to soft tissue. Make sure your shoes are comfortable, with appropriate heel and arch supports. Take light, easy steps and make sure your heel touches down before your toes. Whenever possible, walk on grass rather than tarred roads to absorb the impact.
Join a club. You can either join an existing walking club or establish one in your own neighbourhood. It’s a great way to make new friends and walking in a group is good for physical security.
Some people find that keeping an activity diary or log also makes it easier to maintain the walking habit. You can even capture your steps on a spreadsheet and graph your performance over time.
The Regenesys Hiking Club regularly offers great walks in the countryside over weekends. It’s an enjoyable way to explore your surroundings, and you can enjoy the company of seasoned hikers. Being out in nature has profound physical and mental benefits.
There are other ways of increasing your walking time. Park further away from the entrance to your shopping centre and walk the extra distance. Carrying your shopping, rather than using a trolley will be much better for you. Use the stairs rather than the lift or escalator when you go into multi-storey buildings.
The time you spend walking can be actively used to listen to podcasts. See it as an opportunity for personal development. The advantage is that you can do two important activities at the same time. If podcasts are not your thing, you can go old school and listen to upbeat exercise music. Either way, it will add interest and variation to your walking.
There are wonderful physical benefits of walking. Walking improves fitness, cardiac health, alleviates depression and fatigue. Walking improves your mood, reduces anxiety, creates less stress on your joints and reduces pain, and can prevent weight gain. Walking can reduce the risk for cancer and chronic disease, and improve your endurance, circulation, and posture. Walking can reduce the risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease. What’s not to like!
And then there are the mental benefits of walking. Walking has been shown to increase creative output by an average of 60 percent. Engaging in physical activities that allow our minds to wander promotes a mental state which can produce innovative ideas and solutions to problems.
You are probably sitting at a desk, reading this on a screen. Seize the moment. Walk around your home. Walk up a flight of stairs, or stroll to the bottom of the road.
The important thing is to start now and do a little bit every day.
Read also: Drink Plenty of Water