So many people aren’t ready to say goodbye to the summer, but I am HERE for it. I love pulling my jeans and boots and scarves and leather jackets out of storage, sipping on hot coco and nibbling on all things pumpkin. But my absolute favorite part about October starting? The weather! Nights are great for getting cozy under a blanket or sitting around a fire pit, and the days are perfect for walking!
And that brings me to the point of today’s post: walking and why it is something you should definitely be doing.
I have had random periods of my life where I’ve loved working out and going to the gym, but they never really last. One bad fibromyalgia flare up or a busy week in my schedule can derail me, and once I miss a few days it’s hard to go back. But I’ve never really had that problem when it comes to walking. I can take a week or two off and still be able to jump right back into it. Sure, I might be sore the first time after a break, but not so sore that I don’t want to do it again the next day.
I first started going for long walks during my pregnancy with Emily. I knew that I had to get my steps in and stay healthy for her, but it was hard to do because my day job involved sitting at a desk for nine hours. My husband and I started going for walks after work each day, setting goals and celebrating with little victory dances when we’d hit ten thousand steps. In the spring, we walked around the neighborhood and through the parks. Once summer started and it got too hot, we started walking around Target.
Once Emily was born, my doctor told me I should take walks to help my body heal from the C-section. I started off super short, pushing her little baby bed around the hallways of the hospital. By the time she was six days old, we were walking a few miles around the neighborhood for trick or treating with my niece. (In retrospect, I may have overdone it that night.) We even went through a brief period where Emily’s entire afternoon nap was spent in her little stroller while I walked. I would just keep going until she woke up, which sometimes meant getting a two hour walk in!
It helped me to recover from surgery, helped me lose some of the baby weight, and most importantly, it was great for my mental health.
The first reason is kind of obvious: exercise.
Physical activity has been proven to be good for you. Exercising every day can help lower your risks for a lot of unwanted diseases and conditions, like diabetes or high blood pressure. It helps build up muscle which makes you stronger. There can also be a boost to your metabolism and you burn calories, which helps you to feel better physically and helps when it comes to managing your weight.
Exercising a little bit each day also helps give you more energy and improves your quality of sleep. Walking is one of my favorite ways to exercise because there’s no pressure. It’s easy on your joints and you don’t have to be in great shape already to start.
These tiny little guys are one of the best ways to get a burst of happiness! When you move your body, your system produces endorphins which will not only help decrease your pain but increase your pleasure! Have you ever heard the term “runner’s high”? Well my friends, you can get it from walking too! As you move, you’re bringing your stress levels down and making you feel better. Things like anxiety and depression can drop significantly.
Do it solo or by yourself!
I love that walking is so versatile- it can be something you do by yourself or with a buddy and either way, it’s beneficial. Personally, I walk the most with my daughter, but when my husband can join us, we make it a family affair. Either way, I feel great afterwards! When it’s just me and Emily, I talk to her but mostly I have time to really process my thoughts while she babbles to herself or to her stuffed Clifford doll. When Tom joins us, we joke, laugh, and point out different decorations or curb appeal options we like. We also have some of our most meaningful conversations while walking.
Big selling point here. You don’t need to join a gym or pay a fee to walk. It’s free! Even if the weather sucks, you can go to the mall and walk around there. There are so many free options to get your steps in, it really is a no brainer. I did invest in some good sneakers and a smart watch for tracking my steps, but those weren’t absolutely necessary to get started.
Fresh air and sunshine
Fresh air usually has higher levels of oxygen which is great for both your brain and your lungs. All of your systems benefit from it, but especially your immune system and your digestive system. Factor in the Vitamin D you get from the sun and you are giving your body a great dose of all natural medicine! Again, added benefits of fighting off unwanted conditions while increasing the good things like serotonin. Your skin looks better, your mind focuses better, and you start to have more energy. For this reason, as long as the weather allows it, I prefer to walk outside.
Better brain function
I’ve already touched a bit on how your brain does better because of the fresh air and endorphins, but walking has also been thought to improve your memory and to help you to be more creative when it comes to finding solutions. Studies have shown that walking can help slow down mental decline and even reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s.
I can go on and on.
But my point is this: if you haven’t been taking advantage of this beautiful weather by getting outside, go do it already! I know we are all busy and it can be hard to find the time, but even if it’s only a few minutes here or there! Go for a walk around the block during your lunch break. Park at the other end of the lot so you have to walk a little further to run your errands. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Instead of having that coffee date inside the café, get your drinks to go and walk while you talk and sip.
Making sure that your body is moving during the day is a very important part of self care. Please make sure that you’re making time to take care of you throughout the day. You deserve it.
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