Holistic Wellbeing

“Walking: the most ancient exercise and still the best modern exercise.”  – Carrie Latet

Everything about this quote rings true. Walking is the most primitive form of transport and exercise, and to this day we still use our legs to not only get us around but also a way of staying fit. In a time where many of us are complaining of high stress levels and fitness is at the forefront – with new exercise plans, gym membership deals, and top-of-the-line exercise machinery being marketed to us – a good, old-fashioned brisk walk in our neighborhood park or walking track can be all that we really need.

Dr. Melina B. Jampolis, author of the book The Doctor on Demand Diet, says: “Walking is the number one exercise I recommend to most of my patients because it is very easy to do, requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes, and has tremendous mental and physical benefits.”  Like any addition to your routine, the thought of adding a daily walk can be daunting. Before you put the thought out of your head, let’s have a quick look at what benefits you can expect to see by including a simple 30-minute walk into your regular schedule.

Physical Wellness

  • It helps you maintain a healthy weight.

Though walking may not be the quickest or easiest way to lose weight, it does indeed help in the prevention of gaining it as well as the maintenance of a healthy body weight if you have reached your weight goal. “From the perspective of prevention, it appears that 30 minutes of walking per day will keep most people from gaining the additional weight associated with inactivity,” states Cris Slentz, Ph.D. of the Duke University research team that works on exercise and weight loss studies.

  • It helps you prevent and manage various chronic conditions.

People who walk regularly are at lesser risk of conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint pain, depression, and obesity. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that cardiovascular diseases are the number 1 cause of death globally. Being physically inactive plays a major role in the development of certain diseases, which is why walking is the best solution for any age group to ease into a more active lifestyle. Also, as mentioned earlier, walking helps maintain a balanced body weight which is one preventive key against chronic disease.

Psychological Wellness

  • It helps to improve your mood.

Walking can do wonders in uplifting your mood. Like any other exercise, walking releases those “feel-good” chemicals in the brain aka endorphins. It also allows us to take a break from our strenuous daily chores and tasks, breathe in some fresh air, burn some calories, and just reconnect with our physical bodies. When you have a job that requires you to sit for hours doing monotonous work, or are just in a low phase in life where the thought of exercise seems like an impossible task, just get up and out of the house for even 15 minutes and see the difference in your overall mood after a nice brisk walk.

  • It helps boost your creative thought process.

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking,” said philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and he wasn’t wrong! When you walk, the blood flow to your brain increases. So many famous writers such as Charles Dickens and Ernest Hemingway were avid walkers who emphasized the importance of getting out and walking by foot to clear your head to make space for new ideas. Often, we feel stuck or blocked creatively, and the solution to getting out of that rut may simply be getting out, changing our environment, and getting blood pumped quicker to our brain to trigger the flow of those creative juices!

Walk your Worries Away

Walking is the simplest and, in my opinion, most effective way to maintain both our physical and mental health. It requires no fancy equipment, expensive memberships, or any assistance at all. Whether you are feeling low, stressed out, or under the weather all you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and you are good to go! Be it a walk on a walking track or park, or opting to go someplace by foot rather than take the car like you usually do, try and incorporate at least 30 minutes of walking into your day and see the difference it makes in your life!

 

References:

Colzato, L. S., Szapora, A., Pannekoek, J. N., & Hommel, B. (2013). The impact of physical exercise on convergent and divergent thinking. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Rabbitt, M. (2018). 7 incredible results you’ll get from walking 30 minutes a day. Retrieved July 21, 2018 from https://www.prevention.com/fitness/a20485587/benefits-from-walking-every-day/

World Health Organization (WHO). Cardiovascular disease. Retrieved July 21, 2018 from http://www.who.int/cardiovascular_diseases/en/