For my “W” post today in this series on the AtoZ of Physical and Emotional Wellness, I’d like to write about my favourite fitness activity – walking. I am a big believer in the health benefits of walking. A brisk walk for even 30 minutes a day will significantly decrease your risk of developing diabetes or heart disease and will help to keep your weight, cholesterol and blood pressure in check.
Apart from these benefits of walking, what’s really great about the activity for me is that I can do it just about any time and anywhere. I could be in another city on work or visiting family, or on a holiday somewhere exotic – walking is possible everywhere. You don’t need a trainer, or any equipment, and can walk pretty much anywhere.
Walking is also great because it is suitable for people of all ages and levels of fitness. It is a low impact exercise, unlike jogging or aerobics. Being a weight-bearing exercise, it does lead to the strengthening of the bones. It improves our metabolism and circulation, aids in digestion (hence the popularity of after-dinner strolls!), and also strengthens our core muscles. This last part is probably one of the biggest benefits of walking, for anybody who has ever dealt with back pain.
While the physical benefits of walking are very often talked about, the impact on emotional wellness is equally significant. Going for a walk when you are feeling anxious or angry will usually help you calm down. Being out in nature engenders a sense of connectedness with the world. Walking regularly has been known to enhance the mood and improve creative output. In one study, people who were being treated for depression reported feeling better about themselves in general, when they added daily walks to their routines.
The market these days is full of apps and wearable step counters like Goqii and Fitbit. These add to the fun by bringing in an element of challenge and motivation to the walking activity. You can add your friends to your Fitbit challenge and see who covers the most steps, thus pushing each other to stay fit too.
My favourite time for a walk is sometime between dinner and bedtime when the rest of the world is busy overdosing on television. AtoZ has sort of messed my schedule up, and I look forward to getting back to it!
What are your thoughts on walking? Do you have a walking habit or do you prefer some other fitness routines? Do share!
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