May is National Walking month and we asked fitness junkie, Samantha Hadadi, to give us a few tips for including more walking in our daily routine:
From leaping into the car ready for a mad dash to work, to taking the lift and sitting on our chairs for long days in the office, more and more of us are becoming less mobile.
As our lives become increasingly hectic, it seems we have less time to stay active, and less time to simply pull on our trainers and take a stroll. Yet, as we step towards National Walking Month this May, we’d like to challenge you, our Lifestyle family, to be more mindful, and to walk more over these next few weeks.
Happily, walking costs nothing, and the benefits are endless. All you need to do is lace up those trainers, plug in the headphones and get moving.
Want to join us? Here’s why we’ll be walking more this month – and some of the easy ways you can fit more steps in. Now, put your best foot forwards, and get moving!
Health Benefits of Walking
Whether you’re pottering around the garden, tearing after your kids in the park, or simply wandering to the kettle for a cup of tea, walking is part of our everyday lives.
Yet, because of this, it’s often easy to forget just how good it is for us – and, believe us, there are all sorts of benefits to walking:
Boost Cardio Fitness
Walking is a surprisingly effective form of cardio, and can really rev the heart rate right up! In fact, health bods say that a brisk walk each day can help to lower blood pressure and reduce our risk of strokes. Meanwhile, walking has benefits that can even be better than those found from running. Researchers believe that a pacey walk can reduce the risk of heart disease even more than pounding the streets.
It Makes You Smile
Exercise is a huge mood booster, and can leave you beaming. Studies show that a fast-paced walk can be as effective as antidepressants in less severe cases of depression, and it can even help to relieve stress and feelings of anxiety. Mindfulness is another mood booster, and it’s perfect for practising while walking around the block! Take in those beautiful skies, notice what’s different about your regular stomping grounds, and listen to those birds sing.
How many times have you felt sluggish and drained, only to step out into the great outdoors and feel instantly energized? Similarly, a quick walk is a great way of boosting our energy levels and can help to increase circulation to every part of the body, meaning we feel instantly more alert.
Walking briskly can see you burning 150 calories every half an hour – about the same amount as a typical aerobics class! Walk more every day, and we promise you’ll see the results translated in your beloved skinny jeans.
Let’s face it, we all want long, lean limbs, and walking is fantastic at giving us beautiful legs and bums. It even helps to shape up areas we often forget or neglect in the gym, such as our calves.
Get More Vitamin D
To up our vitamin D levels, it’s crucial we spend some quality time outside. Far too many of us are vitamin D deficient, which can affect our mental health, bone health and even our immunity. However, don’t fret! You can change all this by getting outside more and taking a walk in the fresh air!
And if we’re still to convince you to get walking, here’s one more: 30 minutes of walking could help you to sleep better. A study by Oregon University showed that walking helped participants sleep better and feel more alert during the day.
Of course, there’s more to walking than just those health benefits! We bet you’ll see things you’ve never seen before, experience some spectacular sunsets, discover some new places, and explore nature at its most beautiful.
How Much Should I Walk?
When it comes to exercise, it’s impossible to give a firm answer – there is no “one size fits all”. Yet, it’s often recommended that we should try to squeeze in 10,000 steps a day. Or, put another way, five miles. The UK National Obesity Forum says that a person who walks between 7,000 to 10,000 steps a day qualifies as “moderately active”.
Of course, it’s not always easy to guess how far we’re walking, but there are plenty of apps on smart phones to help you keep track of steps, while Fit Bits can also help to give you an idea of whether or not you’re hitting that target.