Safe to say when we think about fitness and well-being our brain automatically leaps to gyms, swimming, classes and perhaps a bit of outdoors bootcamp.
Here at Small City we're big advocates of looking after your mental health and taking care of your emotional wellbeing. Without this in tact, buff pecs and a washboard stomach mean nothing.
Research has proven time and again that physical exercise can play a big part in mental wellbeing but having suffered from depression in my mid thirties, I know only too well how hard it can be to motivate yourself into doing anything never mind facing a class full of gym folks. Which is why this week we're chatting about the easiest and most simple exercise of them all - walking!
With the amazing Perthshire playground right here on our doorstep what better way to combine the two awareness raisers than to get out and enjoy some fresh air? I headed out on Sunday, walking shoes, water bottle and sense of adventure at the ready and explored the beautiful river walks and hilly countryside of Dunkeld and Birnam.
If scaling hillsides seems a little adventurous to you (I have to say my irrational fear of edges did kick in a wee bit!) and you’d like to start walking at a slightly easier pace then check out the FABULOUS Stride For Life walks
that run by local Volunteer Walk Leaders in and around Perthshire.
Walking is SO good for you; gentle, low impact and FREE we’ve all been taking part in this fabulous fitness trend since we were knee-high to a weights bench.
Let’s start with the basics:
- Walking is good for your heart. No two ways about this, low impact cardio exercise will help lower your bad cholesterol and help increase the good stuff. It will also help control blood pressure and can reduce your risk of stroke by up to 27%. (Stroke Association)
- Walking can help you lose weight and tone up. You can burn up to 75 calories just by walking a mile in 30 minutes. Up that speed to 3mph and it rises to 99 calories and a 4mph its 150! It will also give you great definition in your calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your bum to the max! Pay attention to your posture while you’re there and you’ll also tone your abs and waist.
- It lowers the risk of serious disease. A regular walk can help you reduce the risk of diabetes by 60%, reduce your risk of dementia by assisting in the prevention of brain shrinkage and make you 20 percent less likely to develop cancer of the colon, breast or womb.
- Walking Will Lift Your Energy! A brisk walk boosts circulation and increases oxygen to every cell in your body and because you’re outside, you’ll get a big boost of vitamin D which is important for bone health and our immune systems.
- Walking makes you SMILE! All exercise boosts your mood and there have been loads of studies done that show that a brisk walk can be just as effective as antidepressants in mild cases of depression. You’ll release lots of gorgeous feel-good endorphins and reduce stress and anxiety. We LOVE it!
Local independent Sports and Fitness trust, Live Active Leisure
, has provided training for a whole bunch of Volunteer Walk Leaders who then go on to offer their time, free of charge, to guide you through regular walks in your local community.
This is exactly the sort of #PerthLoveFest
we adore here at Small City; the idea is, that you can become more active and meet new people all while out walking in your own area – and of course, if you’re meeting a group instead of going it alone you are far, far more likely to pull on your walking boots and hit your stride. Plus you get all that lovely mental energy that comes from being with others.
If you’d like to join in with National Walking Month Here are some simple tips to fit walking into your everyday routine:
- Park and Stride (e.g. leave slightly earlier in the morning and rather than park at the office, park 1 mile away and turn up for work with a clear head feeling ready to go!)
- Organise lunch time team walks
- Walk the dog further
- Hold a walk meeting or walk to meetings
Remember there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong gear and clothing!
GOOD LUCK and LET’S GET WALKING!