If you’re trying to live a calmer, less cluttered, and less stressful lifestyle, then going for walks is a fantastic way to achieve this. I’m not talking about simply walking around, or getting your daily step count. No, I’m talking about setting aside some time and literally going for a walk. That means that you are not walking to get anywhere; you are simply walking for the sake of taking a walk. Basically, you need to decide to go for a daily walk. This is a very simple activity that doesn’t require a lot of time, effort, planning, or energy. In addition, it is greatly beneficial to your overall well-being.
Walking has a vast number of benefits for your body and your mind. Many of which will be discussed in this article. What’s more, is that going for a walk is something that anyone can do and that anyone can fit into his or her routine. It is so simple. All you need to do is go outside for a half an hour and walk down the street. Then turn around and walk back to your home. That’s it. If you do that three times a week or, better yet, every day, your overall health will greatly improve. Read on to find out more.
The Power of Walking
Taking a walk is one of the best things you can do for your health. This is a very gentle and low-impact form of exercise that will help you burn calories and keep your heart rate up, especially if you move at various speeds throughout your walk. It will help with your agility and circulation as well. Anytime you are out moving your limbs and muscles without creating force or impact on your joints, you are doing a great thing for your body.
Walking is an exercise that pretty much involves the entire body. Think of all the parts that are moving when you are simply going for a walk. You are using your feet, legs, knees, thighs, hips, abs, back, shoulders, neck, arms, hands, and more. You are moving virtually every muscle in your entire body! Imagine how that can help keep those creaky joints operational.
If you sit for long periods during the day, then it’s very important to ensure you are occasionally getting some exercise; otherwise. you can significantly shorten your lifespan! In fact, people who spend more time standing than sitting live roughly six years longer than those people who spend more time sitting. Therefore, if you are one of the people who sit at a desk all day, then it is essential that you get some exercise. Your body needs movement in order to continue to be able to move. Therefore, take a walk, because not only is it good for your body, it’s also excellent for your brain.
Walking is great for your physical health and it is also really good for your mind. When you walk simply for the sake of walking, it causes you to activate your brain’s ‘default mode network’. This is the series of brain areas that come to life when you’re not focussing on anything particular. You are simply walking without thinking about where you are going or when you need to be there. It is essentially taking a walk without an end goal. You aren’t rushing to make that meeting, to catch the transportation system, or to get to work. You are walking in order to relax.
When you do this, your brain is put at ease and, as a result, converts over to its relaxed state. You will find that when your brain is in this state you begin to think a lot about all kinds of different things. In fact, when your brain is in this ‘default mode network’ you will begin to recover lost items from memory. Your brain will simply serve them up because your mind is now clear and open. In addition, your creative side may begin to flourish. Basically, all of those things that you were consciously trying to think of will unconsciously surface. This is because your mind is now relaxed. In a way, you are in a meditative state.
If you wish to nourish this relaxed state of mind then try taking walks in different areas. When you walk in scenic areas the brain is absorbing a lot of information. This information is processed in consciousness. Therefore, you are not thinking of all of the regular thoughts you think throughout the day. Now your mind is even more relaxed and your unconscious will begin to flow. In addition, several studies have shown that simply being in the presence of greenery will lower stress, reduce heart rate speed, instill a sense of calm, and more! Why do you think so many offices have plants? Greenery is huge for the brain.
Basically, if your life feels constantly busy, rushed, and hectic, then taking a walk might be the perfect escape that your body and mind are crying out for. Sure, it may not seem like you have the time to do it, but make the effort. After a week or so, you will not want to miss a single day of walking. It will become a time for you to think without deadlines and to reason without worry. It will become your daily meditation. Therefore, really try to fit it into your schedule. However, in case you don’t know how you can possibly do this. Here are some suggestions.
How to Fit Walks Into Your Routine
Yes, you are a busy person who barely has time for anything and you can’t possibly see how walking for a half hour will help you. You may believe that walking is a waste of time. Yet, you read the benefits. Therefore, you know that walking is good for you. So now you have a dilemma. How do you make walking a part of your schedule? How can you make it work with your lifestyle? Read on for some excellent suggestions.
One option is to go for more walks while doing other things. However, you need to make sure that these other things don’t consume too much mental energy. The goal of taking a walk is to relax, not play Pokémon Go, Candy Crush, or some other game. In addition, you are not to be checking emails, or conducting business. Your walk is for relaxation purposes. Unplug, unwind, and walk. That said, a great example of walking while doing something else is to have a conversation with a friend.
If you have a friend over for social hour, why not suggest catching up while going for a walk? Take your coffee, tea, beer, or other beverages and take a walk around the neighborhood. As you guys walk, you can have your conversations exactly as if you were lounging at home. This time you are getting your walk in, having a conversation, and improving your health. It is a great way to multi-task and fit that walk into your schedule.
Another great method of fitting walking into your schedule would be to account for it in your daily travel. If you take public transportation anywhere, simply get off one stop early and walk the rest of the way. Alternatively, you could get off one stop late and then walk back. If you wish to expand your adventure, you could get off two stops early or late, then three, four, et cetera. However, if you aren’t a user of the public transportation system then you can still incorporate walking into your commute. Instead of parking close to the building, why not park in a lot down the street? This way you will get your walk in and still serve the purpose of arriving at your destination.
Of course, fitting a walk into your schedule while doing something else isn’t ideal, but it is still better than not walking at all. The thing to make sure is that when you are walking you are allowing your mind to clear itself. You want it to enter that default mode network. Therefore, it is essential that if you incorporate walking into your commute that you use that time to let your mind flow rather than thinking about everything that is going on for you that day. Of course, as long as you are walking you are one step in the right direction.
The bottom line is that taking a walk is excellent for your health. Make an effort to incorporate it into your day. If possible, put it in a block of time that is all by itself. That way you will have no distractions and your mind will be able to be set free for a while. So what are you waiting for?! Get out there and start walking simply for the sake of walking. Let your mind wander and your creativity flow. Make it a time of meditation and creativity. Go for a walk today!