Our daily routines make maintaining our physical health harder for us to find the time to work out and move our bodies. America Walks is a nonprofit whose goal is to work toward “safe, equitable, accessible, and enjoyable places to walk and move by giving people and communities the resources to effectively advocate for change.”
The organization has reported that less than 50% of youth and 24% of adults get enough physical activity and that from 2001–2016 in the U.S., sedentary behavior has either remained stable or increased. Let’s reclaim our health by making it a goal to become more active, starting with National Walking Day on April 5.
One of the misconceptions that people have is that to impact your physical wellness positively, you must go to extremes, constantly pushing limits. While this can be a goal, it is not necessarily a good baseline or foundation; fitness is not all or nothing.
If you are someone that has struggled with staying active, walking is a great way to start. It shares many of the same benefits as running. However, a walk is a low-impact activity that is more versatile and accessible since you don’t need any special equipment or training.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, walking has plenty of immediate and long-term benefits. Instant changes include improved quality of sleep, lower anxiety levels, and lower blood pressure.
The lasting benefits include a lower risk of developing depression, anxiety, and dementia, improved bone health, potential weight loss, and a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. The endorphins released while walking boost your mood and make you feel more confident.
If you are looking for ideas on how to incorporate more strolls into your daily routine, consider trying out any of these methods:
Join a group
Not only does walking in a group help keep you accountable for maintaining your fitness, but it is also a great way to meet new people and socialize.
Try out a walking pad
The pads are one of the newest trends and have gained popularity due to the increased work-from-home and hybrid jobs. Think of them as mini treadmills that can go anywhere in your house or under a standing desk if you have one. On social media, Kristen Hollinghaus Seninger documents how her walking pad allows her to get in more steps while working simultaneously. She even recently completed a marathon during the workday on it.
Check out local trails or hikes in your area
Walking in nature is a great alternative if you get bored in the same locations around your city or neighborhood. It gives you a change of scenery to reinvigorate your excitement about moving.
Depending on the layout of your town, consider walking instead of driving the next time you run errands.
Not only is this good for your health, but it also benefits the environment. One report from the U.S. The National Household Transportation Survey stated that 13% of all car trips were one mile or less, adding up to 16 billion miles. Walking produces zero greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the easiest ways to cut down on your carbon dioxide output.
When trying these methods, it’s critical to walk with intention, create goals, and be patient and kind to your body. One of the essential parts of a fitness journey is making sure that you gradually challenge yourself as you progress and improve. So for this year’s National Walking Day, where will your next walk take you?