The benefits of a daily walk

When the lockdown started, going out once a day to exercise became one of the things we all looked forward to. Now, as things get back to normal and workplaces that shut down reopen, there are reasons why you should turn that daily walk into a lifelong habit. If it’s something you’ve slowly stopped doing, here are seven reasons to put on your walking shoes and get outdoors.

1. Boost your mood

Getting outdoors, especially if you head to a local park or other green space, is an excellent way to boost your mood and improve wellbeing. Nature has long been associated with improved mental health and going out for a walk each day could be just what you need to help you look at things with a more positive outlook.

A walk can help you feel calmer, more relaxed and happier in general. Exercise boosts the production of endorphins, which reduce stress hormones, meaning the positive benefits can be felt long after you’ve headed back indoors.

2. Helps to give you a break

Getting out and about can give you a break from your usual routine. If you’re working from home, it’s particularly important to get out of your usual environment. But even if you’re in an office during the day, a walk at lunchtime or once you get home can be beneficial.

Stepping outside can stop your routine from becoming too repetitive, help clear your mind and make you feel refreshed. As more companies switch to flexible working, including working from home, it can become an important part of your day and help create a distinction between work and personal life by breaking the two up as well.

3. Improve productivity and creativity

Linking to the above point, getting outside for a walk also has benefits for your working life. Leaving your desk and getting away from the usual distractions, whether that’s phone calls, emails or chatting with colleagues can help clear your mind. It’s a step that can leave you feeling more refreshed, improving your productivity once you’re back at your desk.

It’s also a time when you can think and explore ideas. As a result, it can boost creativity and help you think outside of the box. If you’re struggling to come up with solutions, a walk can help you focus on the challenge and other ways of working without interruption.

4. Improve your health

Exercise, in general, has plenty of health benefits. But if you don’t want to hit the gym, going for a walk can still boost your health without having to work up a sweat. Making a brisk stroll part of your day can strengthen muscles, support joints and lower blood pressure.

Recent research is encouraging people to walk or cycle to work to improve health. Based on the results of 300,000 commuters over 25 years, the study found those exercising on the way to work reduce the risk of early death from heart disease and cancer. Even rail commuters walking or cycling to transit points were found to benefit from the extra exercise offered compared to driving.

5. Helps you lose weight

If you want to improve your health, losing weight may be a goal you’ve set. It can be a slow process but making a walk part of your daily routine can give you an added boost without having to work up a sweat.

Many factors influence how many calories you burn when walking, including your weight and the route you’re taking. But a general rule of thumb is that you burn around 100 calories per mile if you weigh 180-pounds. Not bad if you’re simply walking to work or taking in the local park.

6. Save money

If you’re likely to jump in the car or use public transport for short journeys that you could walk, it could save you money.

Even small costs, such as bus fare or petrol when you’re nipping to the local shop, can add up. You don’t have to commit to walking everywhere, but even swapping your daily commute to work for a walk, once or twice a week where possible, could save you money while improving your health and wellbeing. Plus, you’ll be helping the environment as well.

7. Get a better night’s sleep

Any form of exercise helps you get a better night’s sleep. This is partly because after activity we need more rest, but it’s also due to exercise helping reduce levels of stress and worry. If you find it difficult to fall asleep because you’re worried about certain aspects of your life, taking a walk in the evening can help you relax.

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