Here are seven rewards you might enjoy when you add more steps to your routine.
1. Better physical fitness
Walking is a great form of cardio exercise that doesn’t require sweating it out at the gym. If you walk fast enough to raise your heart rate, temperature and breathing, you can still reap the same kind of rewards as a run on the treadmill. After a while, you’ll find that you don’t feel as worn out after a walk, and can burn more energy than when you use public transport.
2. Fewer health issues
As with all other forms of exercise, walking can help you to stay in shape and, in turn, lower your risk of developing certain obesity-related conditions. From diabetes and coronary heart disease to high blood pressure and cholesterol, even a simple walk to work and back can strengthen your heart and help keep you healthier.
3. More time to yourself
If you’ve been known to complain about not having enough time to exercise, walking to work or to run errands is a great solution. Rather than having to use some of your spare time to visit the gym or go for a run, exercise becomes a normal part of your everyday routine.
4. Increased mental wellbeing
The benefits of exercise, including walking, for our mental health are well documented. Scientists state that physical activity can cause chemical changes in the brain, such as the release of endorphins, which can positively charge your mood. This, in turn, can increase your levels of motivation and self-esteem, boosting your energy levels.
Then, of course, there is the potential of walking to help you become more mindful. When you aren’t getting stressed by traffic, looking down at a screen on the bus or in a taxi, you can pay more attention to the things around you, often discovering sides of the area where you live that you hadn’t yet discovered.
5. Lower stress levels
Research from the University of East Anglia has found that as well as increasing our general wellbeing, walking to work can actually help us feel less stressed. The study found that people who switched their commute from public transport to walking or cycling actually felt better able to concentrate, and felt like they were under less strain than before.
6. Time to organise your mind
A good walk is a good time to focus or meditate on a problem. Giving more free time to think, it’s the perfect opportunity to organise your mind. You never know, you may end up finding a longed-for solution to a burning problem.
7. Save money
You’d be surprised by how much money you could save just by walking to work or to run errands. The fare you’d usually put aside for public transport, for example, or even the cost of an exercise class will soon add up.
For more health stories and information about Benenden’s healthcare services visit www.benenden.co.uk/healthier-you/.