The Daily Benefits of Going Out for a Walk

It’s on everyone’s To-Do List and New Year’s Resolution: “I’m going to exercise more!” But we lead busy lives and staying in shape can be a challenge if we spend most of our day sitting at a desk in front of a computer. And not everyone has time for a gym membership either.

But we always have time to stretch our legs and go outside, don’t we?

Walking is a simple and effective form of fitness that anyone can do. According to Mayo Clinic, walking can help you “maintain a healthy weight” and “prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and Type 2 diabetes.” It also has psychological benefits, such as improving your mood and increasing your focus and coordination.

Now, you might argue that you don’t have much time in your schedule for a walk. But the truth is that you do. If you can spare time for a lunch or coffee break, then you can dedicate some of that time for a brisk walk. Even a simple commitment to moving around more at work—like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or just strolling around the office—will do your body good in the long run.

If you’re out of practice with walking, then try these simple steps:

* Keep your head up. Don’t let yourself slouch like you might while sitting at your desk.

* Relax your neck and your shoulders.

* Let your arms swing freely. You can pump them a little as you walk to raise momentum.

* Tighten your stomach muscles and keep your back straight.

* Walk smoothly from heel to toe.

* Breathe naturally and consistently.

* Remember to stretch your muscles before or after taking a walk.

* Find a good path to walk, like on a smooth sidewalk or through a park.

As you walk, you may find yourself getting distracted or thinking about work and other things that cause you stress. Don’t worry! Those thoughts are perfectly natural. It’s important that you commit yourself to walking and savoring the exercise when you can. If you can keep it up on a regular basis, you’ll find that you’ll feel and look fitter in no time!

Image Credit: Andrew Bowden on Flickr