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As simple as walking

Walking is one of the easiest ways to stay active. It’s something we can do at any stage in life, and it’s so simple we often do it even without even thinking about it, as a part of our daily activities. And even though it seems so easy, there are so many benefits of walking, so read on to find out a few of them!

Walk, whenever we can, whether it’s from the home office, to the loo, to the kitchen and back, or getting out on your lunch break for a stroll. Take the dog out for a walk around the block, walk to pick up lunch, have a stroll after dinner with the family, take the stairs instead of the lift. Maybe you enjoy perusing the shops, walking with a coffee to catch up with friends or colleagues.

Simple idea to get in a few more steps:

  • Have a walk around the block when listening to your favourite podcast.

  • Get off the bus, metro, tram, or tube one or two stops before our destination.

  • Park further away from a destination than usual, from the office, supermarket, dentist surgery.

  • Ditch the car and try walking to the local shops for that pint of milk and chocolate bar.

  • Try walking meetings, instead of sitting on zoom or in the office, try walking and talking.

Walking is free, easy, and doable for almost everyone. Just make sure to wear a good pair of trainers or walking shoes that are flexible and supportive.

“The body will become better at whatever you do, or don’t do. You don’t move? The body will make you better at NOT moving. If you move, your body will allow more movement.”

Ido Portal, Movement Coach

Down to the juicy stuff: the benefits

Off-the-charts creativity

Whether we’re racking our brains looking for the solution to a tricky problem, feeling stuck at work, or experiencing writer’s block, Stanford researchers found that walking can boost creativity by a whopping 60%! The same results were found for both indoor and outdoor walks, and the creative boost lingered on even after the walk had finished. According to the study, “walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.”

Stumped for an idea? Let's face it, sitting pondering a blank screen or twiddling our fingers isn't going to help! Take a quick stroll around the block.

Reduces depression and improves mood

Movement is great for our physical health, but it also provides us with a huge boost to our mental health and wellbeing. A daily half an hour walk can reduce symptoms of depression and stress by 36%! One study found that just 12 minutes of walking increased cheerfulness, energy, attentiveness, and self-confidence versus the same time spent sitting. A brilliant reason to get out and about over lunch. When our mental state makes going to the gym or getting dressed for yoga feel like too much effort, walking can feel much more manageable.

Helps us to refocus

When we walk more and take time to care for our amazing bodies, we experience higher levels of cognition. That means we’re more likely to think with clarity, are better at problem-solving, have a much easier time remembering things, and can follow the plotlines of exceedingly complicated films or series (have you watched Tenet?).

Walking 30-40 minutes a day three times a week can also help “regrow” structures in our brains and mean we’re less likely to experience Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and cognitive decline as we grow older.

Vitamin D boost

Vitamin D is absolutely essential to our health and wellbeing, it helps to keep bones, teeth and muscles happy and healthy. One of the ways we can get more of this super vitamin is through spending time in the sun. Going for a walk, particularly in the middle of the day when the sun is at its brightest, can boost our Vitamin D levels. Mid-day walking is particularly important in winter when the days are shorter, and the sun doesn’t always have his hat on. It even regulates our moods, but don’t forget to cover up or protect our skin if we’re out in the sun for a long time to reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer.

And finally, it can increase our lifespan!

It turns out that putting one foot in front of the other could help reduce our risk of disease and promote longevity. A study that followed 140,000 adults over 24 years, found that walking between 2 to 6 hours per week reduced the risk of disease and helped people live longer. Researchers found that the amount of walking we do influences how many years extra we’ll live. Even just 75 minutes a week, (that’s less than 11 minutes a day, by the way) could add almost 2 years onto our lives.

And we don’t need to do one or two mammoth walks a week. Research shows it’s better to break up our movement throughout the day than to hit the gym after sitting all day. So what are you waiting for? Skip, hop, step into your trainers and go for a stroll!




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