Walking is one of those completely under-rated exercises.
We know that walking is good for us, but somewhere along the line we believe that walking isn’t as beneficial as other exercises – like running or weight lifting or HIITT workouts.
It’s more of a calmer exercise, the same as Pilates or yoga and because it doesn’t make us pour with sweat or feel like we will ever catch our breath back, it just doesn’t feel like it’s doing much.
But it is.
It’s also one of those exercises that anyone can do anywhere, and because you don’t need to put your workout clothes on or make it into an event – it just doesn’t feel like it counts.
It really does.
Walking is one of the best exercises for mums (we do need strength training too but that’s a post for another day!) not only is it a low cost exercise that we can do anytime, anywhere…it’s one that we can bring our children on too if we want to.
It’s a great way to explore your local area too, walking allows us to see things we might not have noticed in the car!
What are the benefits of walking?
Walking for self-care & mental health
Walking is amazing for your physical health but I think one of the best benefits of walking is the effect it has on your mental health.
Being a mum is alot, it’s stressful, it’s busy, it can feel some weeks like we are lurching from one crisis to the next, and just going for a walk can bring everything back into perspective for you. You have those feel good hormones running through your body so you feel good about yourself, you’ve been out in nature so you have that feel good energy on you too – it’s something I strongly think mums should be doing everyday just for the self-care side of it.
You can go from being completely overwhelmed to feeling so much calmer after a walk.
You might have had an idea or a problem spinning around in your mind for days and you go for a walk and suddenly you gain a load of clarity and it’s not so much of a problem anymore.
If you suffer from anxiety, walking is amazing to allow you to feel calmer and more in control.
Walking has such a huge impact on bringing our stress levels down, and we all know that stress causes so many other unwanted problems in our body and our life – walking is an easy way to get back feeling in control.
It can also help play a huge role in helping you manage anxiety or depression.
Walking helps you sleep better
We need better sleep.
Even if you can’t get the quantity you want – you can always improve the quality of sleep you have.
Walking helps you be able to fall asleep easier and faster because it makes you a little bit more tired.
It helps you reduce stress so that also helps you to fall asleep faster – it is so hard to fall asleep when you have a million thoughts swirling through your mind.
Walking also helps you to have better quality sleep – the sleep you have is more restorative and that is going to make you feel much better.
Walking gives you more energy
It sounds like a contradiction, but if you are feeling a bit ‘meh’ and like you just don’t have the energy for anything – walking (or any kind of movement!) will give you more energy.
Walking helps you to cope better
When life gets stressful, or we feel overwhelmed or perhaps we get a bit of bad news – exercise can feel like the last thing we feel like doing.
But there are so many benefits that go alongside movement it’s really good (and important!) to try and fit it in to help support you.
The beauty of walking is that it’s low energy and low effort and you can do it anywhere.
While it’s not going to help you get rid of your actual problem, it will help you feel like you have a bit more control over the situation and help you to support your health and mental health through it.
Walking is flexible
You can do it to get some much needed alone time (!) or you can do it when the kids are home. All you need is a pair of shoes and maybe a coat and you are good to go.
You are in control of walking, you get to set the time, the distance, the pace, if you go alone or if you do it to get everyone out of the house – just do what feels good for you.
Walking helps your physically
There are lots of benefits to walking:
- Helps keep your body at a healthy weight
- Good for your bones
- Strengthens muscles
- Improves your cardio fitness
- Good for your heart
- Can help reduce certain conditions like diabetes, and lower blood pressure, chance of stroke etc
How much walking should I do?
Overall we are aiming for 150 minutes a week for exercise. So that is roughly 30 minutes a day. This can be a variety of different exercises – you don’t have to just walk.
You can break this down into however suits you.
A 30 minute walk in one go. A 10 minute walk in the morning and a 20 minute walk the evening.
It doesn’t have to be done in one go, work out how it would fit into your life and just fit it in.
You don’t even have to include it as your 150 minutes. Maybe you have a different exercise routine you follow which makes up your 150 minutes – so in that case you can use walking as a purely self-care exercise.
Walk as far as you feel like, until you feel your thoughts start to calm down.
And those extra minutes are just a bonus!
Should I walk everyday?
There’s no reason why you can’t walk everyday (as long as you are not unwell or have an injury!) and a lot of people walk everyday because of the way it makes them feel – calmer and happier.
If you feel like walking everyday would be something that makes you feel good then go for it!
Bring it into your days as a self-care practice. As something that you do for you. And see how it makes you feel.
I hope this is helpful!
Do you enjoy walking? Let me know!