Walking regularly is one of the easiest ways to improve our mental health, as well as helping us stay active during lockdown and at home. It’s especially good if you’re still not quite ready to head to the gym but still want to hit the recommended target of 30 minutes of activity, five times a week.
You can even include it as part of your home workout. Most of us should be aiming to hit around 10,000 steps a day. While this may seem overwhelming at first, the key to success is building up slowly. Although it’s likely the vast majority of us have already started increasing our daily steps during the Coronavirus pandemic lockdown.
Staying Active at Home
If you work from home regularly or have recently joined the working-from-home-club, you may find it a struggle to leave the house and stay active. Although you’ll be saving time and money by not commuting, it’s important to take regular short breaks from work, especially during your lunch break!
Why not try walking up and down the stairs a few times before work and during your lunch break? If you used to walk at lunchtime to take some time away from your screen and the office, try to incorporate this into your new routine and take a quick lunchtime stroll. You could also invest in a stand-up desk that will keep you on your feet, rather than sitting down for most of the day.
Tracking your daily steps is a great way to keep you focused and on track. Simple pedometers or basic fitness trackers and apps on your smartphone are all cheap and easy ways to help get you moving more.
Every Little Helps
If you live close to your local supermarket and you absolutely have to go, one quick and easy way to increase the amount you walk is to take a stroll to the shops. You could even extend this to opting for the scenic route and get off the bus or tube one stop earlier on you way home or to work.
Remember to make sure you are staying safe by wearing your face mask while shopping and out and about on public transport.
Another quick walking win is using the stairs instead of the escalator or a lift. They’re likely to be less crowded so you’ll be staying fit, healthy and safe and minimising your contact with others.
If possible, you should a try and walk with someone else. Ideally this should be with someone from your household or within your social bubble. If you choose to walk with a group, remember that gatherings/walks of more than six people should only take place if everyone is exclusively from two households or support bubbles.
Not only will you find it more encouraging and motivating to walk with and keep up with your companion, but it’s more fun too. You can while away the minutes chatting and catching up about your day. Before you know it, you will have hit your target.
11 Reasons you Should Incorporate Walking into your Home Workout Regime
But why should you add walking into your home workout regime? Surely such a low-intensity workout won’t have much of an effect on your health and fitness? That’s not the case. Here are 11 ways in which walking more will help improve both your physical fitness and mental health:
- Healthy heart – regular walking reduces risk of heart and cardiovascular disease
- Helps weight loss – walking 30min each day has been proven to support healthy weight loss
- Increases lung capacity – as you walk you are breathing in more oxygen, which helps increase lung capacity, improving stamina and exercise performance
- Increased stamina – the more you walk, the better your endurance and stamina will be
- Reduces blood pressure
- Reduces your chances of cancer – a sedentary lifestyle is one of the key links to cancer and walking daily will help aid weight loss and reduce the risks of cancer. Walking is also a great way to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy.
- Strengthens bones – osteoporosis is linked to sedentary lifestyles and getting out walking more often will improve bone strength. Walking is low impact but will have a huge impact on your health.
- Reduces risk of diabetes – increasing movement to 3,000-7,500 steps per day has been linked to reducing type 2 diabetes
- Brain and memory function – yes walking can make you smarter. It helps to supply the brain with oxygen and glucose which helps the brain to function more efficiently. Walking more has also been linked to reducing risks of dementia.
- Reduces stress/depression – exercise releases feel good endorphins
- Clears your head and makes you creative – it’s a great way to relax and clear your mind, giving you the ability to think more imaginatively and efficiently.