Walking is one of the simplest, least intimidating, and most effective ways to stay active and boost our health. It’s also one of the best ways to do cardio and get fit.
More importantly, walking is your best way to take the first steps toward an active lifestyle. No pun intended.
Below, we’ll review a few of the greatest benefits of walking and how to sneak more steps into your day.
Four Of The Greatest Benefits Of Walking
1. It Gets Your Creative Juices Flowing
Steve Jobs would famously take long walks with employees, family members, and business associated throughout his life and career. This was his preferred way to communicate, and he would often come up with great ideas and strike fantastic deals during his walks.
Whether you admire his legacy or not, Jobs was a polarizing figure that played a massive role in developing one of the world’s most innovative technology companies.
We can attribute his creativity and innovative thinking to that one habit, but we also can’t deny that it played a role in how the thought, saw the world, came up with ideas, and did work.
The truth is, walking is one of the best ways to clear the mind and open the door for creative thinking. If you ever feel stuck on a problem, take a ten-minute walk, and get back to it. Chances are, you’ll find the solution staring directly at you.
2. It Elevates Your Mood
Taking a walk is one of the best ways to calm yourself down and boost your mood. For one, walking gives you time to think and see a given situation from a different perspective. It also helps you distance yourself from the source of stress, which further helps boost your mood.
Walking also allows you to go out, breathe some fresh air, enjoy nature, and soak up some sunlight. All of these can be profoundly relaxing and can contribute to a better mood.
If you’re not sure, test it out:
If you’re feeling angry, anxious, or sad, go for a ten-minute walk. Chances are, you’ll feel a lot better afterward.
3. It Burns Calories and Helps With Weight Loss
Walking is so simple that few people realize how big of a calorie burn it can offer. For reference, a person who weighs 120 pounds burns around 60 to 70 calories for each mile. A mile equals roughly 2,000 steps for a person with an average stride.
If the hypothetical person walks 8,000 steps per day (which is realistic and sustainable), they will burn an extra 260 calories every day. Little by little, that caloric burn adds up and can lead to significant weight loss in the long run.
4. It’s Simple
Walking is one of the most convenient ways to sneak physical activity into your day without having to dedicate time for a workout. Walking is also among the simplest things we can do and works for people of all fitness levels.
No matter how fit you are now, you can take full advantage of walking and start improving little by little.
And the best part is that walking is not intimidating like other forms of activity, making it even more accessible for the average person.
How to Walk More Without Thinking About It
Maintaining healthy fitness habits can be challenging because they typically come with a time commitment. Walking is unlike most physical activities because you can more easily integrate it into your days.
For example, walk to the grocery store instead of taking your car. If you travel by bus, get off one or two stops earlier and walk the rest of the way. When possible, take the stairs instead of an elevator. Instead of emailing a document to a colleague, walk to their office.
What finally worked for me to walk more was to think about combining walking with a fun activity during or after the walk (reading the paper, listening to music, talking with friends). Obviously these habits depend on where your home is located and what you enjoy the most in life. Here is what worked for me and can perhaps inspire you to find out what would work for you:
1) Before the pandemic, I used to pick up a newspaper on the week-end at my local gas station or starbucks (both about 7-8 minutes walking distance from my house).
2) Listening to my favorite music helped me find the motivation to go outside and enjoy a nice walk.
3) I also take any opportunity of going out for a walk when I need to call a friend.
Just thinking about a list of ideas really helped me make it a habit to go for an extra walk several times a week.
Click here to read my other ideas for building healthy habits.