For a versatile and simple exercise routine, few activities can rival walking. Most of us have been walking since we were toddlers, it’s something that can be done almost anywhere in almost every season, it doesn’t require any special equipment (though a pair of comfortable shoes are necessary), it’s a joint-friendly, low impact option, and the benefits are extremely helpful for people of all fitness levels. The more consistently you do it, the more you will experience these benefits. Read on for inspiration to get out there and take a walk!
What are some of the physical benefits?
- Increased circulation and blood flow
- Improved cholesterol and heart health
- Lowered blood pressure
- Stronger bones
- Stronger legs and glutes
- Increased endurance and stamina
- Better sleep
What are some of the mental benefits?
- Reduced stress
- Relief from anxiety and depression
- Increased mental alertness
- Improved outlook on life
- Enhanced self-esteem
What if I don’t have a walking partner?
For most people, having a regular walking partner can help with motivation, accountability, and making the experience more fun. But don’t despair (or miss out on all these benefits) if you don’t have a walking partner – solo walking is a great alternative and offers some additional benefits:
- You might find it more relaxing and meditative; try some of these mindful walking techniques
- You can move at your own pace for the length of time that suits you
- You needn’t accommodate anyone else’s schedule
- You can enjoy listening to music, podcasts or audio books while you walk
- Bring additional breath awareness into your routine by synchronizing your breath with your stride (measure out a certain number of steps with each inhale and exhale and maintain that over the course of your walk)
How do I start?
- Before you start walking take a few moments to stretch, and give yourself a “warm up” as you gradually build to your brisk pace.
- Start at a pace that is brisk (yet comfortable for YOU) for 20 – 30 minutes.
- As your fitness level improves, you can intensify your workout by walking uphill, longer distances and/or at a faster pace.
- If you walk outside, walk in safe areas, stay cool, drink water, and wear sunscreen! If you walk after the sun goes down, make sure others can see you by including a reflector and/or visible colors.
At Satori Integrative Medicine Clinic, we encourage our patients to incorporate lifestyle practices into daily life as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for: major depression, the depressed phase of bipolar disorder (bipolar depression), postpartum depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), pain syndromes such as fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also known as reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), and addiction. Our services include integrative medicine, ketamine and lidocaine infusions, IV supplements, and medical acupuncture. If you or someone you know suffers from any of these conditions and this approach to health and wellness resonates with you, please contact us for more information.