We all know why walking is beneficial to your health. But there are other benefits to walking beyond just keeping your weight down. And in my opinion, walking outside trumps treadmill walking, as long as weather permits of course.
Walking can also improve your mental health. Skip the iPod and just use the walking time to think. Or if you are walking to relax and de-stress, learn some simple relaxation techniques that you can use on your walk. Walking for even ten minutes can give you some uninterrupted, no phone, no email, “you” time that can clear your mind and refresh you for the day.
Walk with a buddy. Feel like you don’t have any time to catch up with friends? Take your hangout on the road! Set up a walk date with a friends, or group of friends, so you can chat, catch up, and also get in some exercise. This helps skip extra calories and the sugar overload that can come with meeting a friend for coffee or dessert.
Meet your neighbors. If you live in an environment where you feel safe to do so, introduce yourself to your neighbors that you see out and about. I have been trying to do this myself, since I have lived in my hometown for most of my life and know very few of my neighbors. You never know when you might strike up a new friendship.
Sitting at a desk most of the day? Taking small walk breaks can help keep your back and hips from getting stiff and sore. You can also do some light stretches to help keep you from getting the usual side effects from too much sitting.
Jump-start your day with some sunshine instead of caffeine. Many people (myself included) rush straight for the coffee to wake up in the morning. Try going for a short walk instead to get energized for the day. A morning walk can help you feel more motivated to tackle your to-do list.
Beat the winter blues. Even when it is cold outside, an outdoor walk can still do your body and mind some good. Wrap up in some layers and take a short walk around the block. This can help bust up some of the winter depression and cabin fever from being cooped up in the house for too long.
Love taking pictures but never have the time? Bring a camera with you and snap some pics that you find inspiring or that you can’t get anywhere else. Try out some new music, or start walking some of the neighborhood dogs. Adding an extra spice to your walk can keep you motivated to stay away from the couch and keep up a healthy habit.