Getting your steps in!
Walking is something many take for granted but actually it's amazing for both body and mind. As a rule of thumb, it's recommended to aim for around 10K steps per day as a minimum. I aim for anywhere between 15 - 20K per day and more when possible. Bear in mind that this is due to an active job anyway and choosing to walk as often as I can, if you have a desk job or a rather sedentary lifestyle then even 10K might seem daunting at first, but with a 20-30 minute walk you can rack up a good few thousand. If you're someone who is on the fence about getting their step count up or putting off optional walks, read on for some reasons as to why you should start sooner rather than later!
Easy to do, requires little effort and no equipment!
Let's start with the most obvious one. Walking is easy, and can be performed by almost anyone and everyone. It requires little effort and absolutely no equipment. There are a few simple things you can do to get more steps in, like parking further away at the supermarket or at home (especially with the parking in Brighton & Hove), taking the stairs instead of the lift and choosing to walk to places those closer places to you instead of using the car/public transport. The obvious one would be to start walking to the gym instead of driving, but sometimes this isn't practical, but you could still park a bit further away to get some extra steps.
If you are someone who is yet to even start their fitness journey, this is also a great place to start as you can do it on your own and not worry about stepping into a gym which for some can be rather intimidating without guidance.
It's such a simple and effective way of exercising and getting a lot of the benefits of exercise so we highly recommend it!
It doesn't cost you a single thing!
Okay, strictly speaking, this isn't true- you'll have to spend time walking! But it will certainly be time well spent. Think of it as an investment in yourself. There are obviously certain times of the year when walking will be more favorable than others. Although with the unpredictable English weather this is not always the case! So whenever the rain breaks, try and get yourself outside at least for 5 or 10 minutes.
But, if you are someone who loves the sun, then the summer months will be a period of time where walking more often will be easier and you can top up that tan at the same time. It is also a good time to just enjoy nature, have a chat with whoever you're walking with or just enjoy your own company with your favorite music or podcast on!
There's so many nice places to walk in Brighton, Hove & Shoreham, and if you prefer a bit of countryside and green hills then there's plenty in the surrounding areas too. And don't forget the beach! Walking along Hove promenade is one of our favourites!
Low impact exercise that requires minimal recovery.
For many, when you think of exercise you think of endless hours of grueling, sweaty cardio in the gym, lifting heavy weights and getting involved in classes. But exercise really can be as simple as walking… it is just that, exercise!
It has many, many, many benefits. I think an often overlooked one is mindset. If you get into a routine of walking, it gives you time to clear your head and is known to boost and improve your mood. This can be particularly useful with the general stress of life at times.
Walking often can also help improve cardiovascular endurance, especially when the walk is brisk, offroad and inclines/hills are involved. An improvement here will certainly be felt in the gym and can even help improve muscular endurance and tone alongside nutrition.
Walking has a low impact on your joints whereas some forms of training are not. Such as high intensity training, running, fast paced weight classes etc. these of course have their place, but in terms of longevity, walking is something you can and should be able to stick to long term without the risk of injury that comes with other forms of exercise.
It is also worth noting if you are sore from a gym session, a nice simple walk can help with aches, pains and tightness in the legs.
A great way to burn extra energy = calories!
Many people have an overall goal of losing some body weight or leaning out. Obviously nutrition and a proper training schedule will be the bulk of how you reach these goals. However, walking can be a super easy way to burn through extra calories making the goal a little easier to attain.
If you were to focus on just getting extra steps in where possible you are burning extra calories than you would be for not moving/choosing other methods of travel. Of course, if you have the time to actually go out for an hour's walk for example then that is great and advisable. But if it is just a case of getting a higher amount of steps throughout the entire day, that is just as effective.
A great way of tracking calories burned alongside steps would be to invest in a tracker such as a smart watch, most phones will also have the function to track steps these days too.
Boosts energy, immune function and heart health!
Another benefit to walking is that it can help boost your energy levels, so the next time you think you need a coffee, try a short walk instead! It increases oxygen flow through the body as well as initiates an increase in energy boosting hormones!
Various studies have shown that walking 30-45 minutes per day can have an impact on your immune health via not getting as ill as often and if you were to get a cold for example, the effects are lessened and you will recover faster. If the climate in which you live is cold, then indoor walking is recommended such as a treadmill in a gym.
Just 30 minutes per day, 5 days a week can help lower your risk of coronary heart disease by around 19%... the more often you walk, the higher the duration the better the statistics become. If this isn't reason alone to walk more, I don't know what is!
Finally, a walk after eating can help reduce blood sugar levels to a more regulated level. Also, if this was to be implemented after breakfast, lunch and dinner for example for 15 minutes each time. That is your 45 minute walk done for the day with little to no thought!
We hope you found this post useful and maybe found a little more motivation to get up and do the walk you are putting off! If you do experience any of the above benefits and enjoy getting your steps in, be sure to let us know at Portside PT!