Walking. A necessary action to take ourselves to where we need to be, quite literally. However, the simple act of walking and spending time outside can be underestimated as a tool for health and wellbeing. The amount of benefits regular walking and fresh air has, is truly remarkable! Physically, mentally and spiritually, walking can lift you and recharge your mind.
Some of the great aspects of walking are that it’s free, it has absolutely no cost involved. Unless of course, you are attending a professionally organised walk, such as our EDGE UK Adventure Trips. There is little risk of injury associated with walking, and it’s low impact, making it available to most people. It’s easy to start and build up to longer routes too. So what’s stopping you?
The Great Outdoors
With powerful advances in technology, and endless time spent in front of screens and smartphones, simplifying your routine and getting back to nature, can seem increasingly inviting. Switching your phone off, and being at one with the outside world can be just the tonic you need. Here we discuss just a few perks a big breath of clean, green air can bring.
Walking and being outdoors tends to go hand in hand unless you’re walking up and down the stairs 30 times a day, but even then you wouldn’t feel the benefit of the wonders that are fresh air & sunlight.
- Vitamin D is essential for your immune system, bones and blood cells, and helps the body to absorb important minerals.
- Helps to build relationships.
- Being outside can help to improve your self-esteem, even more so if you are near greenery or running water.
- Being outside could help to heal you from illness and injury more quickly.
- Concentration is improved; generally outside helping to improve focus, and generate new ideas.
- Being outside is linked with being generally happier and healthier.
We hear talk all the time about mindset and positivity, but the mindset is truly the key to success and happiness. When we walk, we release ‘Serotonin’ and ‘Dopamine’ – happy chemicals that help to lift our mood, similar to the feeling you get after a workout (Or eating chocolate!). One of the best parts about walking is that it doesn’t need to take hours out of your day; taking just 20-30 minutes to go for a stroll can help to recalibrate the mind – especially if you are having trouble focussing on a particular task. BUT these aren’t the only mental benefits that walking brings, take a look below to find out what a simple meander can do for you –
- It could decrease the risk of developing anxiety or depression by 30%. Try to focus on the rhythm of your feet touching the ground, tune into the sounds you can hear and take long deep breaths – all of these small actions will help you to drown out constant worries, and become more relaxed.
- A positive boost to your mood, going for a walk with a friend can help defeat feelings of isolation. Whilst making the most of the daylight has proven to decrease the effects of Seasonal Affective Disorder too.
- Clearer thoughts and strengthening of memory – walking helps to clear the mind and allows your brain to become focussed and ready for the next task, as well as encouraging the development of new brain cells.
- Resilience – walking can help you cope with everyday stresses in a healthy and controlled way, instead of using alcohol and other unhealthy coping mechanisms, try going for a brisk walk to reduce the impact of worry.
- Better sleep patterns – studies have shown that just a few thousand extra steps per day can lead to falling asleep faster, as well as a better quality night sleep.
- Creativity! Walking can help the mind become more creative and innovative. You may find that ideas come to you whilst you’re out enjoying a walk, more so than when you’re sat at your desk.
As if all that wasn’t enough to entice you to get up and go, walking also offers a plethora of physical benefits.
- Calorie burn. Walking is a fantastic form of exercise, and it can be easy to burn off a few hundred calories on an hours walk, without realising it. A great, low impact activity, that can help you shed a few pounds if you need to.
- Keep your heart happy! It has been shown that walking 5 days a week for half an hour, can decrease your risk of coronary heart disease by 19%, as well as improving your circulation.
- Walking can strengthen your bones and muscles.
- Walking could prolong your life – studies have shown that those who take regular walks in their fifties are 35% less likely to die in the next 10 years.
- Supporting your joints – walking helps to lubricate the joints in your knees and hips. The movement brings oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and joints.
- Improvement to the immune system, and less sick days from work.
- Increased lung capacity, and improves the general health of your lungs, due to increased oxygen flow.
- Listening to your favourite music has been linked to a happier mood.
- Invest in a pedometer, or an activity tracker – this way you can ensure you are reaching 10,000 steps per day.
- Mix up your routes to make it interesting.
- Make a habit of going for a 20-minute stroll after dinner.
- Instead of using the car, why not walk to the shops, or walk the children to and from school – if you can!
If you would like to find out more about how being active outside can bring positivity to your life, then please have a look at the useful links below. They have been really useful in helping to expand our knowledge of the benefits of walking too.
The Importance of being outside.
How physical activity benefits our health.