August 12, 2019

When you think of wellness, you may be thinking about nutrition, exercise, and weight management. While these are all important aspects of your overall health and wellbeing, it’s important to realize that wellness is more holistic than health — it’s about finding a balance between the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of our lives. No matter where you are on your wellness journey, your ultimate goal should be to live life fully and be the best version of yourself possible.

So, how can you begin? With just one simple step...and then another! Here’s why you should start walking your way to a better you, and how to do it.

couple walking together

Just 10 Minutes a Day

Often overlooked for more intense activities, walking is a great low-impact form of exercise. As you get older, creaking bones and joint stiffness are common, which can make high-impact activities like running and jumping nearly impossible. But, walking can be an easy and low-impact way to get physically active without worrying about any kind of snap, crackle, or pop.

If you’re new to walking, you can check out thisSix-Week Beginner Walking Plan*from the American Heart Association to help you get started.

The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends adults get at least 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate activity each week. This advice is based on the latest research that shows regular exercise can improve your quality of life, and also lower your risk of all-cause mortality that is associated with a sedentary lifestyle.¹ While 2.5 hours is a lot in one go, it’s actually just 20 minutes a day or 30 minutes, five days a week. Totally doable!

 

Below are a few simple ways to squeeze in a 10-minute walk. And if you do 2 of these a day, you’ll reach your 20 minutes a day goal:

  1. If you take public transit, get off one stop early on your morning commute & walk the last part
  2. Make your meetings at work “walking” meetings
  3. Go for a short walk during your lunch break
  4. Walk after dinner
  5. Opt to meet up for a walk instead of coffee with a friend
  6. Hit up the mall and do a full lap before stopping in any stores
woman walking her dog

Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Walking isn’t just good for your body – it’s great for your mental health, too. Researchers recently looked at the difference between walking through a forest versus urban areas. They found that walking through the woods led to a positive increase in mood and decreased negative moods including fatigue compared to walking through the city.2 Talk about an easy way to lower everyday stress!

If you live in a rural area, you already have the added bonus of being in nature. But, if you live in the city, try walking in a nearby park or conservation area with trails to get the same benefits. You could consider joining a hiking group, signing up for a guided nature walk, or planning a fun day-hike with friends for some mood-boosting movement.

We all have our own schedules, priorities, likes, dislikes, and our own definition of “quality of life”. But, one thing we can all agree on is that walking has several benefits and can lead you down an easy path to wellness. Whether you decide to walk to work or spend more time in nature, walking can elevate your well-being in a super simple way!

 

 

*Medical Disclaimer:

Always consult your healthcare practitioner before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare practitioner. Consult with your healthcare practitioner to design an appropriate exercise regimen. If you experience any pain or difficulty with exercise, stop and consult your healthcare practitioner.

 

References:

¹https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf accessed on: July 26, 2019.

2Song, C, et al. (2018).Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health, 15(12): 2804.


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