Walking – some would say it’s like breathing, others would say its like doing a chemistry exam – super easy or super tricky.
Regardless of how easy or hard you find walking – October is the month to highlight and celebrate walking.
Walking is quite literally the most natural way to get from ‘point A’ to ‘point B’. We were born with legs, we can’t use them for a while, but everything evolutionary suggests that we are made in a way to stand up tall, balance on two feet, use our muscles and walk. Walking is largely both overrated, and underrated, and it might be time to change your perception and your appreciation on the benefits of walking.
Walking to lose weight is hotly debatable and quite frankly, not the fastest or most direct way to lose weight. Walking for stress relief, joint motion, fresh air, sunshine, mental health, blood flow and peace is much more straightforward, and at the same time, often considered an unexpected benefit.
The unconscious benefits of walking:
- Aids blood flow (circulation), aiding heart health, brain health and memory.
- Helps regulate breathing
- Moves your muscles and strengthens your bones
- Improves sleep, moods and balance (both motor skills balance, and work/life balance)
The conscious benefits of walking:
- Reconnect with nature
- Fresh air, sunshine, people, connection
- Meditation – through silence, music, or something else
When should I focus on walking?
- Whenever life gets a little too fast
- Whenever life gets a little too sad
- Whenever life gets a little too stressful
Fun facts about walking:
- Did you know that you use an estimated 200 muscles while walking?
- Walking is an Olympic sport!
- If you walk 9000 steps a day, it will equate to walking around the Earth 3.5 times in an average lifetime
- According to a 2012 paper, Australians walk the most out of all the industrialised countries
- Avoiding just over 2km of driving each day would eliminate 500 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions a year
- The cost of operating a car for one year is approximately $8,500. Walking is free!
How much is enough
- Is there is a magic number – no. I encourage you to walk as much as you can, without exceeding your body’s limits. The 10,000 steps per day goal started as an arbitrary number that was used for a marketing campaign. Since then, it’s been a number that has been used in studies and has shown beneficial results.
- Ideally, walk daily. Enjoy the walk. Reap the unconscious and conscious benefits.
Menopause, walking and health
- Menopause is a great time to focus on walking! But so is every other period of life. Refocus and prioritise a daily walk.
- Menopause comes with an increased risk of heart, brain, bone and many more issues. As mentioned above, walking helps improve heart, brain, bone and many more areas within the body. If you haven’t already, refocus on getting that daily walk.
- Take advantage of the longer days and set time aside to walk
- Park further from the supermarket so that you have to walk through the carpark
- If you are actually ‘going’ to work (not working from home), park 1km from work and walk the rest of the way
- Put your headphones on, immerse yourself into music or a podcast and walk the block, or walk laps of your house or apartment
Unfortunately, walking is a little bit like ‘you don’t know what you have until it’s gone’.
Don’t be too busy to walk, and don’t let walking be considered a ‘waste of time’ in your world. The benefits of walking are exactly what our fast-paced worlds need to stay on track. Walk, breathe the fresh air, feel the sun on your skin, look at the little details as you pass them.
On one of my recent walks, my daughter literally stopped and bent down to look at the pretty flowers. It was precious.
Do you have difficulty walking? Speak with our naturopathic and nutritionist team. Work with the team to figure out it if it is your feet, your muscles, your legs, your nervous system, your energy levels, your pain, your head – speak with the team to delve down into what it is that is causing you to avoid walking.
We are here to help.
October is Walktober. Make time to walk this month. Reconnect with the pleasure of walking.
 Vanderbilt, Tom. “The Crisis in American Walking: How We Got Off the Pedestrian Path.” Slate. April 10, 2012. Accessed: December 26, 2012.