26.04.2021 NEWS

Why Walking Workouts are Great for Wellbeing

The Covid-19 pandemic brought us additional levels of stress triggers in our lives. We’re not only juggling multiple roles at home and the associated time constraints that places on us, but we are also worried about our families as well as economic concerns. Walking has significant benefits. It gets your heart rate up, brings your stress level down, and can reduce your chances of developing several illnesses, such as a stroke. At you might imagine on that basis, 2020 became ‘the year of the walker’.

As a pandemic swept through our country, in March 2020, the government told us to stay at home and to only leave the house for a small amount of time. During that small window of escape to exercise, many of us resorted to walking. A year on, walking has continued to be an important time for representing liberty and health, both physical and mental. In many ways, walking became the easiest way to simply get moving. Walking workouts have even become popular, with plenty of “challenges” and exercise videos to be found online.

People who walk regularly benefit from the array of health and psychological benefits of their daily jaunt. The good news is that walking is great for almost everyone, regardless of age or ability. Walking has clear benefits on keeping our bodies functioning as we get older, improving cardiovascular health, helping lose fat mass and maintain muscle mass, and helping to maintain bone density as well. And these benefits are true for people of all ages. It seems that the more active you are as a young adult, it can affect overall health and including bone and muscle physical function in later life.

Government figures show that by the summer of 2020, 39% of people said they were walking more than before the pandemic struck. Now, signs of a new dawn can even be sensed in the Department of Transport’s sober pronouncement: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had a substantial and potentially sustainable impact on active travel.” Go Jauntly, London-based creator of a mobile app specialising in local and family-friendly walks, has seen its membership rise by 80% to 63,000 since the start of the outbreak. Co-founder Hana Sutch attributes the increase to people’s desire to stay close to their own neighbourhoods while getting some proper walks in. Sydenham Hill Wood in south-east London, a remnant of the once sprawling and productive Great North Wood, is proving one of its most popular destinations.

Walking outside has widely been associated with mental health benefits and walking in green spaces such as parks and forests improve mental health and wellbeing. It has also been known to reduce symptoms of depression, and lower blood pressure. And, although we’re often told to aim for 10,000 steps a day; walking of any length of time is still a good thing. In many cases, even a short walk can boost your mood. Personal trainer and head of our Active Digital wellbeing program for employees commented; “try to start walking for enjoyment and begin with a 20-minute walk every day. If that’s too much, start smaller. Set yourself some daily goals and try to build to 30 minutes a day, every day. You will soon start to feel the benefits.”

In summary, try making walking part of your daily life. You don’t need any special equipment to walk. Just supportive street shoes will suffice for your commute or lunchtime stroll. And since you don’t need to push yourself enough to sweat, you don’t need special clothing; just stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry in the rain. Whether it is simply walking to get a coffee, where possible, make moderate-intensity exercise part of your post pandemic life and like thousands of others; you’ll soon be reaping the benefits.

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The Active Digital wellbeing or work app is launching in Q2 2021. To pre-register your interest, please email [email protected]

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