“I don’t like to exercise”. “I don’t have time to exercise”. “I can’t afford to go to the gym”. “I will never attend a gym class”. “I’m not comfortable with other people seeing me exercise”.
Maybe you resonate with one or more of these statements. You are not alone. Exercise, for many of us, can be attached to certain emotions that can detain us from doing physical activity although we all know it is one of the components of a healthy lifestyle. But when we are reluctant about it, some choose to completely stay away from exercise to avoid any challenges, discomfort, or even disappointments.
Physical activity can also bring up a certain image in our minds that makes it feel even less attainable. This lean, energetic, healthy-looking person with a zest for life, works out 5 days a week and always watches what they eat. That can be intimidating and might even make us feel more discouraged.
I get it.
But what if I told you there is an underrated way to keep active, without any special equipment, designated clothes, membership to any facility or a long commute?
What if I promised you no special skills are required?
What if I assured you anyone can do that anywhere, and anytime?
And, it can be as beneficial as many other forms of exercise!
One of the best, most underrated exercises which provide us with a wide variety of benefits and requires very little is walking.
All you need is a comfortable pair of shoes. That’s it.
You can have full control over how far you will walk, how long, how strenuous it would be, when, where, with a company or by yourself.
A short walk outside in fresh air has been shown to increase energy levels and help with exhaustion. It might be the fresh air, the change of scenery, the increase in endorphins that help us feel happier or all of these together.
Need to catch up with a friend? You could go for a walk together. That could also help with accountability and encouragement.
No time to listen to music, favourite podcast or audiobook? Go for a walk with your headphones and catch up on these on your walk.
Too cold in the winter or the pathways are icy? Try walking at the mall. No fresh air, but you still get the movement. You can do that on your way home from work.
Having a dog can help us commit to going for a walk daily. Don’t have a dog? Imagine you have one to help you commit in the same way.
Studies show that walking in the fresh air can contribute to our emotional health.
Going for walks daily can help your body get used to the new habit and crave it. After a while, you may notice that you need your walks and can’t wait to get out there.
If you take the necessary precautions (ice, snow, rain, heat, traffic etc.), walking can be one of the safest forms of exercise.
Going for a walk can help with falling asleep faster and staying asleep. Make sure there is enough downtime between your walk and bedtime to allow the body to reduce endorphins and relax.
Enjoy your walk!