With the temperatures at record highs, it is tempting to stay still and stay inside just to keep cool rather than exercise by walking outside. But the benefits for your body and mind when you stay active are too numerous to ignore. If the heat has you abandoning your normal cardio activities, try walking. Even a twenty to thirty minute walk can do wonders for your health as well as your focus.
In the midst of other cardio exercises, your mind is often focused on keeping your balance or a consistent stride. Since walking is almost second nature, your mind is free to wander and free to overcome those mental ruts that cause stress and anxiety. Exercise also releases hormones that can sharpen mental alertness and improve your mood for hours after your walk.
Jogging, running, and cycling all put stress and strain on your joints. Walking is a low impact cardio exercise with big results. It increases your circulation, lowers your blood pressure, and brings up your heart rate all of which help maintain a healthy weight and good heart health. Because it is low impact, it also supports and protects your joints.
Walking doesn’t require you to have any endurance before you begin. Because it is a part of our everyday lives already, it is easy to get started! As you begin set a brisk pace that you would use if you are trying to hurry through the grocery store. Bring a watch or timer with you to track your time and your distance. Each day you walk, try to add five more minutes to your walk until you reach thirty minutes a day. To continue the benefits of walking, try to work up to an hour a day to help you sleep better and to help relieve stress. Each time you reach your goal of adding five more minutes to your walk, you will start to feel more confident, more creative, and more centered.
If you aren’t sure whether walking is causing you pain or will help relieve existing pain, consult a physical therapist before you get started.