I don’t know about you, but I love dogs. We have two dogs – a springer spaniel, pictured above, and a border collie. When you have two dogs, especially these breeds of dogs, walking is a part of life. It is inevitable and something you have to fit in regardless of your plans. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny, raining, snowing or hurricane-like winds – dogs need walking.
My mum once said she was disappointed that she didn’t have a dog, not only for the loving companionship that comes with having a dog, but also because you have to do a lot of walking. When she said this, I asked her “why do you need a dog to go out walking?” Her reply left me speechless – “If there’s no reason to go out walking, what’s the point?” After seeing my reaction (I think my jaw hit the floor!), she tried to rationalise this statement by adding that if she walked to work or walked to the shops then that serves a purpose, as does walking a dog, but she could never go out just to walk and then come back.
It didn’t make sense to me. She had already decided that, unless she was walking to or from somewhere for a specific reason, she wouldn’t do it. “What’s the point?” she kept asking me. There are so many reasons for getting out and enjoying thirty minutes of walking a day (or more if you have dogs!) so I thought I would write a post about the benefits of walking.
- It’s free
The mental and physical benefits of walking are second to none. Walking is something I enjoy, not because I have to do it but because there are so many things to enjoy about walking. The first most obvious benefit of walking is that it is free. You don’t need specialist equipment or training. As long as you’ve got sensible footwear on, you simply need to put one foot in front of the other and away you go, you’re exercising.
2. Helps to lose weight
The scientific community estimates walking briskly for thirty minutes five days a week can help to lose one pound of weight per week. One pound a week without ever needing to step foot inside a gym. Not only are you losing weight but you’re also toning your muscles in the safest way possible.
3. Lowers cholesterol
Walking strengthens the most important muscle in your body – the heart. Regular walking of thirty minutes a day can help lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while also helping to prevent and control high blood pressure, a condition that can cause strokes.
4. Boosts vitamin D
Walking outdoors boosts your levels of vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and healthy immune system function.
5. Age or fitness level doesn’t matter
No matter what age you are or what level of fitness you have attained, you can walk. There are many people around the world who would give anything to get up and go out for a brisk thirty minute walk so feel blessed you are able to do it and get out there.
6. Cuts the risk of chronic disease
Walking helps to lower blood sugar levels, thereby reducing the overall risk of type 2 diabetes. Cardiovascular diseases and strokes are also lower among those who walk frequently.
7. Mental vitality
Getting out and connecting with nature by going for a walk in open green spaces are fantastic for mental stability, contributing to the reduction in stress levels whilst improving mood and enhancing wellbeing and concentration.
8. Social bonding
Going out for a walk on your own is fine but you can also combine it with others – as many as you like. Social interaction combined with walking can help to reduce depression and raise self-esteem. Some businesses even engage in walking meetings, a refreshing and rejuvenating way to conduct what some see as a boring necessity of the business day.
9. Gives you time to think
Walking is a low-impact, low-demanding activity that allows us to focus on internal matters. When we walk, we think. Our brains switch on and we replay conversations or make lists of the things we’re going to do or fantasise about fitting into a particular dress that’s been hanging in the wardrobe for months. Unplugging from the daily grind and letting your mind unwind is obviously beneficial so get walking and start thinking.
In our digital age it can be hard to think of walking as an essential part of life when it seems there is no real need to walk. But trust me, we need to. Our bodies and minds crave it so let’s give it what it needs and deserves.
I hope you enjoyed this post and I’ll be back on Monday. Have a great weekend!