I love my morning walks. They don’t take long, especially on weekdays; 15 minutes at most, as I don’t really have a lot of time between house chores and work. It’s a wonderful way to start my morning: I get to shake off any stiffness in my limbs, feel the sun on my skin, and get energized by a first dose of endorphins. But also, I get to smile and greet my fellow early walkers: babies being pushed around in strollers by their yayas or dads (not a lot of mommies, for some reason); the elderly, some of whom are guided by their younger relatives; and even the cats who are often just stretched out on the walking path. It puts me in the right mood, so that I’m ready for when I must turn on my device and face the challenges of the day.
Walking is probably the easiest and most natural form of exercise. As humans, we were MADE to walk! There’s hardly any downtime when you walk long distances, and it even makes for the perfect active recovery exercise if you’re still sore from a particularly tough workout.
How does walking benefit you?
1. Walking provides a myriad of physical benefits such as boosting cardiovascular fitness, improving body composition and strengthening your bones, joints and muscles. Many studies have shown that walking is one of the easiest and best exercises we can do at any age to reduce our risks of chronic disease and improve quality of life.
2. Spark creativity. Many of the world’s brightest minds – from Aristotle to Beethoven to Bill Gates and Steve Jobs – did some of their best thinking while walking. A Stanford Study looked into this and concluded that walking can indeed boost creative thinking. So, if you ever find yourself stuck on a project, struggling with writer’s block or running out of creative ideas, going for a walk can help!
3. Attune to the environment. The other day was particularly windy due to a typhoon raging somewhere in the country, and the cool wind felt wonderful on my face and arms. Every now and then a gust of wind would even give me a little push. And as I was walking the sky suddenly became a few shades darker, signaling that rain was about to pour. All these sensory experiences are so fascinating. They help you appreciate the present, and it’s just one of the reasons I love walking outdoors.
How can you walk more?
1. Find pockets of time throughout your day. If you can’t do 30 minutes in one go, that’s fine; you can break it up into 5 to 10-minute bouts throughout the day. First thing in the morning, after lunch before you head back to your desk, before you get in the car after work, or after dinner are some opportunities to rack up some steps.
2. Enlist a buddy! Get your co-workers to walk with you after lunch, walk your dog first thing in the morning, or have a nice post-dinner stroll with your partner.
3. Scout possible places to walk. This could be a park near your office, a stroll around the block before heading to the parking lot, or a walking path near your home.
Are you ready to start walking? Let’s go!
1 The Importance of Walking to Public Health https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18562968/