Walking the Walk

Walk the Walk tips, ideas and techniques to get the most from your daily walk!

Contents... all articles by Nina Barough

  • The Power of Walking!
  • Walking for Health
  • A positive mood changer
  • The energy boosting goal getter 

The Power of Walking!

“The closest thing we have to a wonder drug” this is how Dr. Thomas Frieden, former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US described walking. He went on to say that even if you don't lose an ounce of weight, you'll live longer, feel healthier and be less likely to get cancer, heart disease, stroke and arthritis. This all comes as quite a recommendation for something that most of us have been doing without thinking about it since we were toddlers.

With further COVID-19 restrictions and enduring a second lockdown, more people are showing signs of daily tiredness, stress, anxiety, irritability and overall feelings of lethargy and de-motivation… to add to the list, not surprisingly, this all leads to poor sleep.

Being active plays a key part in solving all these conditions, but is often the last thing you feel like doing. But it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Walking has a wonderful versatility that no matter what kind of walking you do, it will have a positive impact on both your mental and physical health in some way.

By having a variety of different types of walks in your health tool box, it allows you to be active, which in itself encourages you to feel more motivated and energised, but at the same time choosing a walking method that suits your mood.

We have known for some time the importance of being active and the impact that it has on our overall health and well-being. Shane O’Mara professor of Experimental Brain Research at Trinity College Dublin, says that research is only now revealing the miraculous skill that the brain and nervous system perform at the same time as the act of walking and all that entails. So now is the time to support this magical relationship between the physical and emotional.

Walking for Health!

  Walking is just about the most perfect way to keep healthy and that’s not just our view. The benefits are widely known and far reaching, and dog walkers have the perfect excuse for that daily walk or two. If you don’t have a four legged friend, walking a minimum of 2 miles a day is probably the minimum anyone should consider to realise benefits, including all your steps from getting up, to going to bed. At Walk the Walk we call this the MAD2 – Miles a day that make a difference!

Of course, bustling around your day is not the same as going for a dedicated walk. To achieve a level of mental well-being and physical fitness, it is important to have that special quality ‘me’ time, of walking out in the open, enjoying the fresh air and if possible nature.

A normal walking pace is 3 miles an hour, so whilst your intention may not be to power walk, the more effort you use the greater the benefits. Just by walking every day, you will increase your fitness, and your pace will follow.

How you do it… 

A positive mood changer...

A meditational or mindful walk is a really great way to boost blood circulation and raise your energy levels, particularly for example if you are usually sitting for long periods of time. It will help to re-connect your emotional balance, allowing for calm and greater clarity in order to re-focus on yourself, and positive goals, which are often clouded by overwhelming negative emotions.

How to do it…

The energy boosting goal getter

For some, that feel-good energy boost comes with exertion, increasing the heart rate and the feeling that you are pushing yourself physically, and the only thing that satisfies, is setting yourself a challenge and going out to get it!

How do you do it…

Begin by understanding your own capabilities, and set your starting point. If you are an avid walker who easily maintains a 15-minute mile achieving a constant 4 miles an hour, you are probably very aware of where to set your expectations.

If you are a complete novice, start by walking a mile, at a faster than usual pace for a distance that suits you up to a maximum distance of 2 miles. By using the talk test, you can gauge how fast you should be going for your fitness. If you have difficulty in holding a conversation, you are going too fast and you need to slow down. You should experience an increased heart rate and slight sweating.

For anyone hungry to pound the pavements and achieve a goal, the ideal way is to set yourself a challenge to work towards. Walk the Walk will shortly be offering a range of Virtual Events so register your interest, watch this space and get ready to start walking!

If you love walking and enjoy the feeling it gives you, take a look at our Camino challenges. They are beautiful walks in the region of Galicia in northern Spain. They are a challenge, but who knows, when we come out of our current COVID-19 situation you may surprise yourself to find that you are honed, toned and ready to set yourself a goal!

Whatever your circumstances, in the words of Hippocrates “Walking is man’s best medicine”, the importance of moving and being active must not be underestimated. So If you are pondering this and wondering where to start… just go for a walk and the answer will come to you!

Happy Walking!

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