We all know that we should be getting more physical activity into our routines. After all, exercise helps to deliver vital nutrients to your tissues, boosts your endurance, and supports your cardiovascular system.
However, when we’re all living busy lives overwhelmed by work and family demands, it’s challenging to find energy for exercise too.
The good news? You can start with something simple.
A walking routine is a brilliant form of easy exercise for beginners. With a walking exercise plan, it’s easy to get yourself up and out of the house.
Here’s what you need to know about the benefits of a walking exercise plan, and how you can jump into the art of regular, daily movement.
Why bother with a walking exercise plan?
A walking routine might not seem super helpful at first. Walking doesn’t require a lot of effort for most of us – as it’s something we do on a regular basis.
Studies show, however, that writing off the value of walking could be a bad idea.
According to research, walking gives you both a physical and mental boost. Walking can be just as good for your body as running in some cases.
Why? Because people who run often hit a plateau when they try the same courses time and time again. However, switching up your routine and moving between periods of intense and casual cardio can make a huge difference.
Walking isn’t just a good way to transform your routine either. It can offer a host of other benefits, from better cardiac health, to support against fatigue and depression.
A walking routine creates less stress for your joints, while simultaneously fighting back against weight gain and chronic diseases.
With a regular walking routine, you boost your endurance, circulation, and posture.
One study from the National Runner’s Health study found that energy used for moderate-intensity walking and vigorous running resulted in similar positive benefits for blood pressure, diabetes, and cholesterol markers.
When it comes to making general improvements to your health, a daily walk can be an excellent entry point for better fitness. Studies even find that daily walks can reduce the time you spend in hospital each year and lower your risk of early death by up to 39%.
What does a walking routine do for mental health?
Some of the biggest benefits of walking come from the fact that it’s an excellent way to get moving and begin boosting your physical fitness.
Walking also has advantages to offer from a mental health perspective as well. Aside from improving your blood pressure, body fat, and cholesterol levels, studies show that a walking routine enhances your mind too.
People who walk regularly are less likely to suffer from depression, and more likely to report a better quality of life. Even better, the mental health benefits of walking may appear almost immediately.
One Stanford study revealed that walking improves creative output by around 60%. This means that going for a walk when you’re feeling uninspired at work could help you to get more lightbulb moments.
Your creativity isn’t the only thing that gets a boost. One study found that around 12 minutes of walking led to increase in vigor, joviality, and attentiveness.
Walking in nature also reduces your chances of ruminating on negative experience, which can lead to stress and depression.
All that, and consistent walking also has the potential to improve your memory and reduce the deterioration of brain tissues as you get older too.
For some people, a ten minute walk will be just as good as a 45-minute workout.
Get moving: How to walk more often
So, how do you add more walking to your fitness routine?
It’s often a lot simpler than you’d think. The great thing about walking is that you already have countless opportunities to do it.
For instance, rather than driving to the store the next time you want to pick up groceries, find a parking area that’s nearby and walk the rest of the way.
You can make the same change to how you get to work. Don’t park just outside of the office, give yourself some space to stretch your legs.
Here’s another way you can get moving with a new walking routine:
Go for a family walk after food
Usually, when we’re eating food as a family, we consume our meals then slouch in front of the television until bedtime. However, getting the whole family together for a walk after food is a great way to improve your health and fitness.
Research even shows that a walk after a meal improves your insulin sensitivity, reducing the risk of issues like diabetes.
Try a walk at lunch
If you can, don’t just sit in the cafeteria at work to eat your lunch. Go for a walk somewhere while you’re eating. This will improve your chances of finding creative problems when you return to walk.
That’s because a change of scenery and a little exercise can instantly refresh your mind. At the same time, you get all the benefits of acting extra activity to your day too.
Drink more water
Drinking more water is a sneaky way to update your walking exercise plan and improve your health. Water is excellent for promoting weight loss and good health. It also gives you more energy and endurance.
Drinking extra water also means that you’ll need to make more trips to the toilet. That means that you’ll spend more time walking, rather than sitting around at home or in the office.
Set a timer at work
It’s easy to spend hours at a time sitting in front of your desk at the office. Unfortunately, this often leads to issues with your concentration, and health problems too.
To get your body back into active state, set an alarm to stand up and walk around at least once every two hours.
You don’t need to go on a random adventure, just wander around the office if you need to and stretch your legs.
Take meetings standing up
When you’re meeting someone professionally, or socially, there’s nothing that says you need to sit down and drink a cup of coffee.
You and your partner can go for a walk while you chat. This is an excellent way to get some fresh air and keep you moving for a little longer each day.
You can even take meetings standing up when you’re using video calls and walk around the room as you chat.
Have a drive free day
Once every week, pick a day when you’re not going to drive anywhere. If you need anything from the store or you need to visit someone, you’ll need to find another way to get there.
Even if you use public transport, you’ll walk more this way than you would if you drove yourself from A to B.
Plus, it’s good for the planet too.
Let’s get moving with regular walking
If you take a closer look at your daily routine, you’ll probably discover that there’s more room for walking in your life than you realize. Being committed to extra walking can also make other parts of your life easier.
For example, if you’re willing to walk a little way from wherever you park, you don’t have to worry as much about finding a parking space wherever you go.
If you walk to the store rather than driving the car there, you improve your impact on the environment, and reduce the amount you spend on fuel and maintenance.
That means that it’s not just your health getting an extra bonus, but the entire world (and your wallet) too.
There are going to be moments in your life when you want to give walking a miss. It doesn’t make sense to walk all the way to work if it’s going to take you several hours each day, for instance.
But you can always find extra opportunities for easy exercise that you might overlook most of the time.
Getting a walking exercise plan in place might not seem like the smartest way to transform your life from a fitness perspective. However, making significant changes to your health and wellbeing often starts with a few simple steps.
If you can begin focusing on your wellness by walking more often, you may find that you start to indulge in other forms of exercise too.
We all need to start somewhere.
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