Are you a walker? I’m not in the least. It’s not like I don’t walk, but I just don’t love it, or even like it as a form of exercise.
I am willing to park far away or walk to stores and events, but I have never been an exercise walker. Walking with girlfriends is fun because we get to chat and I enjoy the scenery of a hike, but walking (or even hiking) for the sake of exercise kills me. My mind races escape me from the dread moments on a walk. I always think, “If I just ran it would be faster and I would be done sooner”; therefore, I have always taken to running more than walking (which has its own kind of crazy).
Early this year I had some injuries and health issues that prevented me from running, so I had to begin walking to keep from going crazy and keep up some form of cardio. As soon as I could run again, though, I started it up and left walking in the dust…until now.
Just recently, I came down with a cold and realized I couldn’t exercise hard or I would make it worse rather than better…. So, I started walking again. Feeling sorry for myself, I begrudgingly walked the last several days.
This morning, I was just getting started at work and I realized how calm I felt. I thought it was odd because being sick makes me anxious since I can’t move more. Then I relished in the thoughts of calm and thought about why I had so much peace, and it struck me: Walking is calming…
Walking calmed my crazy!
Mental health benefits of walking for a highly stressed mind and body can be significantly more powerful than a high intensity workout or run because exercise is a form of stress on the body. Generally, that form of stress reaps positive rewards for the body. However, when there is an already taxed system from illness or a prolonged stressful life situation, a higher stress workout like running or HIIT can be detrimental to healing.
After recognizing the change in my mental state, I walked with enthusiasm for the peace it would bring. Now to share with you from a hard-headed runner and all-out, balls-to-the-wall exerciser, I am writing this blog about why you should walk (even if you’re a runner)!
Here are 5 of my favorite psychological and physiological benefits of walking:
1- Walking is calming to the nervous system, reducing stress and increasing brain activity.
2- Walking at a moderate pace for 45-60 minutes 4 times a week will increase your cardio capacity, decrease your resting heart rate and blood pressure, and help maintain a healthy weight.
3- Walking can include a social element during a walk n’ talk, which provides a mental health benefits of bonding and reducing stress while feeling socially connected and supported.
4- Walking improved balance and coordination (although that second is still an issue for me). Think about it, walking is the act of falling forward and catching yourself again.
5- Walking increases bone density without supplying too much pressure to the joints. Basically, most of us will be able to walk much longer than we will be able to run. Even if you’re a runner, add a day of walking to prolong your running years.
My epiphany of walking versus my running comes at an fortunate time to release this blog. We recently launched our community walking groups! They are free and open to the public. We meeting Mondays at 8AM & 5PM. Please look at our website for details. There’s no need to sign up, so show up and join the fun!
Happy Walking Trails to You!
Additional Blogs about benefits of walking (and running)
1- 5 ways walking is better than running
2- The physical and psychological benefits of walking
3- Go for a walk
4- Walking can lift your mood