In a world saturated with the latest fitness fads it can be easy to forget one of life’s simplest pleasures; going for a stroll. One of the easiest ways to achieve the recommended two and a half hours exercise a week is a brisk walk every day. It will help you get fit and stay fit and stimulate those feel-good endorphins that exercise can bring. Follow these 3 easy steps to get the most out of walking for body and mind.
1.Find a time to walk that works for you
Build walking into your daily routine. If you drive to work, park a few blocks early and do as much of the journey as you can on foot. If you’re stuck at your desk, invest in some walking gear take it to work and walk in your lunch break. If you usually watch TV for two hours in the evening, use one of them instead to go for a walk around your neighbourhood.
A surprising number of people don’t walk properly, which can lead to back pain and weakened joints. Walking with the correct posture will not only feel a great deal better, but will also help tone arms, legs and thighs. Stand up straight and tall by imagining an invisible string is pulling your head towards the sky. With your chin up and eyes forward, shrug your shoulders once and let them fall naturally. Pull in your stomach, tuck your bottom in and lead with your heel first, rolling onto your toe. Don’t forget to use your arms. You will be amazed at how much faster and easier you go.
3.Let your mind wander
Once you’re in your stride, don’t be afraid to let your mind wander. Walking can be seriously meditative; feel the rhythm of your steps, notice the pattern of your breathing (do remember to breathe!) and let the repetitive action wave over you. Walking gives you precious time to simply ‘be’ and let your subconscious take over.
Aside from the physical benefits of walking, including weight loss and increased fitness, you may also find that regular walking gives you more energy and helps you sleep. If you bore easily, change your route, listen to music or the radio while you walk or try sharing a walk with friends. Best of all, walking is completely free and will cost you nothing but the price of some good sneakers.