With the lockdown, a lot of people have started walking. That is certainly a good development because walking has many benefits, both for your health and mental.
You don’t have to go for a walk to compostella right away to enjoy the benefits of walking. A short walk regularly can pay off.
What are the benefits of walking (everyday)
Contact moment with family, friends
Now that the cafes are closed and other contact moments and fun outings are also banned, walking is the only contact moment many have. A moment to meet up with someone from the family or a good friend. Some exercise together, but still easy to catch up. Some also bring a drink or snack to make it extra cozy on the way.
Moment for yourself
Besides with others, walking is also a perfect moment with yourself. Few people do this, but it is very powerful. At that moment you can listen to that podcast or audiobook that you would otherwise not get around to while you are still in motion. But even without multimedia it is very good to go for a walk alone. Away from it all, going into the woods on your own can give you a sense of freedom.
Rest in your head
If you go for a walk alone, you can also think of it as meditating. All kinds of thoughts come up, sometimes positive, sometimes negative. By reflecting on this, you can get to the deeper core of yourself.
Because you become calmer, you can clear your head and perhaps experience freedom (only in the forest), there is room for inspiration. All kinds of ideas can just pop up. A goal that you would still like to achieve, a new course that you would like to take in terms of work, a place where you want to go with your family… I always get ideas for my blogs while walking.
Good for your mental health
A 2011 study by Henk Staats into the psychological benefits of walking showed that walking has a positive effect on the psyche and reduces negative effects.
In that case, it is best to choose a walk in the park instead of a street walk. In the first case, the feeling of time pressure diminishes, which a lot of people suffer from these days.
If you go for a walk in the park you will feel more cheerful if you go for a walk alone, while if you go for a walk in the street you will be more cheerful if you do it with a friend. The benefits for your mind, therefore, depend on your social environment and whether or not you walk in nature with water and greenery. In any case, the beginning, the social aspect and/or nature will lower your stress level.
Sufficient exercise is always recommended. Walking stimulates blood circulation so that more oxygen gets to all organs. This allows everything to function better.
Preservation of bone mass
Walking can counteract the loss of bone mass. So especially if you have osteoporosis, walking for 30 minutes a day is highly recommended.
By stepping firmly, your muscles will also have to do their best and you will eventually get stronger muscles. If you really keep going you will notice that your whole body is in motion, so you are not just training your legs.
If you move during the day, you will sleep better at night. This is reinforced by going for a walk in the morning. This way you stimulate the biological rhythm by providing your body with sunlight early in the morning. Discover more tips here for when you can’t sleep.
Walking gets your bowels moving. This gets your digestion going. So it is good to take a little walk after a meal. Also ideal if you do sedentary work all day, and then stretch your legs in the afternoon after dinner.
If I have been to a dinner with family and there are about 3 to 5 courses, then I always feel the need to go for a walk afterwards. Firstly, you have only sat for hours and it does well to loosen everything, but it is also good because that food can then be digested more easily.
Blood sugar drops
A study of people over the age of 60 noted that walking for 15 minutes after each meal lowers blood sugar levels. This reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Improving your memory
Walking regularly will improve your memory. It is also recommended for the elderly to take a daily walk. Walking reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Some start walking to lose weight. In addition, it is important that you continue briskly so that you can view walking as a sport earlier.
As you could read above, walking stimulates your digestion. Good digestion can help ensure that you digest food better, which is important if you want to lose some weight.
Another reason why walking can help is that it makes you feel better mentally and can give you peace of mind. And it is stress that causes increased cortisol. Cortisol causes fat storage so that you can gain weight. Reducing your stress will make it easier to lose weight.
Discovering new places
You can just step out your door and start walking, but every single round can get boring in the long run. Then it is nice to go for a walk in a different place. That can be in a city to explore the city in this way. For example, a few years ago I walked through Budapest with my best friend and we did about 20 km a day, so we had seen a lot of places in the city.
But you can also go to a nature park, visit a place of interest, go for a walk in a place where the blossoms are in full bloom, or whatever you like. Himself went for a walk in the period when all the tulip fields were in bloom. Beautiful to see.
Contact with nature
If you choose to go for a walk in nature, you can let the sounds of the animals and the rustling of the trees come to you. Because you slow down, you can start to feel more at one with nature. If you are taking a long walk, you can also sit on the ground halfway through and have a picnic. Nice outside in peace.
What can also be fun is to rent a house in nature. This way you stay in or close to nature and can immediately leave from there for a long walk.
Little chance of injuries
With other sports you regularly run the risk of injuries. You can fall or overload your muscles and joints. When walking, that chance is much smaller because you put less pressure on your body. I’ve started running for regular periods, but have had to stop every time because it overloaded my knee, even after buying targeted shoes. With daily walking, I have no problems with this at all. Not even when I walk 20 kilometers.
You can do it anywhere. The view may not always be fantastic, but you can walk out your door and start walking. You don’t have to drive anywhere first. Unless you’re going to be trekking, you don’t necessarily have to carry a whole load of gear. You also don’t need anyone else to walk. So you can always do it anyway.
Even if you are physically in less condition, it is a way to start exercising.
Do you want to start walking or do you want to build up your walks to 10 or 20 km, maybe even do a multi-day walk? Then it can be useful to follow a walking training. The chance of injuries is a lot smaller with walking than with other sports, but if you learn the right techniques this will only decrease.
Do you regularly go for a walk or are you planning to after reading this blog, be sure to leave a comment at the bottom of this page. I am also curious about what benefits you experience while walking.