Given a choice between watching TV or lazing around the house, versus taking up some form of exercise, most of us would choose the former. It is in human nature to conserve as much energy as we can until it becomes absolutely necessary to utilize it.
Consider the fact that lack of physical activity has affected 70% of the global population. In the times we live in now, we barely have the need to walk around due to our easy access to motor vehicles. Thanks to technological advances, even a person who does not own a car now has access to a vehicle at the click of a button. This has led us to a point where human suffering has increased due to various non-communicable diseases that are directly related to our lack of physical activity.
How do we solve this problem? By making a conscious decision to walk regularly. Walking is a strategic choice of exercise as it is a simple and easy to do activity that requires no special equipment and which can be done anywhere anytime. It is a form of exercise that does not need you to have a coach or a trainer telling you what to do and how to do it. A mere 30 minutes of the daily walk can do wonders to the body and mind. Walking every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, increase muscle power and endurance. Even a short walk can help clear your mind, improve your mood, and boost your energy levels. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), a single bout of moderate-to-vigorous activity (including walking/running/or any other form of exercise) can improve our sleep, thinking, and learning abilities, while reducing symptoms of anxiety.
Walking can be embraced as a mode of transportation from one place to another or as a pure form of exercise. Whatever the purpose, here are five reasons to start walking today and finding your mental reset button:
- Walking can bring a sense of gratefulness. Walking can give you the time to reflect to think about all the good things and thank the universe for everything that you have. You will develop an ability to reflect on life form and gain a larger perspective which helps you deal with your struggles.
- Walking enables us to be up close with nature. Walking outside enables us to soak the sun, feel the breeze, hear the birds and watch the blue sky. This act of being in nature distracts our mind and helps relieve stress and anxiety. Being one with nature can be best experienced while walking and this will change your life for good.
- Walking ensures your heart is strong and your brain is active.
As you make walking part of your daily regime, you can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by about 19 per cent. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain.
- Walking can be part of a social routine.
Invite a friend, a neighbour, or a family member for a walk. A partner always helps you commit to things you find yourself delaying. You can motivate each other and ensure you do not miss it. Walking with friends can help you build strong bonds and relationships with people around you. You can even have a brainstorming session with your team and you can ask them for suggestions for something you might be struggling with.
- A walk for the mind.
You may think that the mind is not a physical presence or an organ, why do so much for it? But oftentimes we forget that the mind is what does all your thinking, makes those innumerable decisions, and actions on a daily basis without us even realizing it. It is important to keep your mind as healthy as it might be to keep your heart. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them
So do your mind and your body a favour and take that walk. Commit to it for a week and see the difference. It will leave you craving for it and become the magic mantra that helps you get by.