Take a stroll with us. And by “stroll,” we mean a walk. The reason we sell eco-friendly laundry strips, after all, is because we love Mother Earth. So, whenever we can find ways to help protect this big pretty marble ball of ours, we’re all in.
You can imagine when we learned May was National Walking Month, we laced up our sneakers. Why? Because a great way to decrease your carbon footprint is to increase your human footprint. And now that the evenings are lighter for longer, it’s the perfect time to get outside and put one foot in front of the other. Besides reducing pollution, walking offers a host of benefits to not just the planet — but to you, too.
1. Walking Is great for your heart
Your heart pumps oxygen and blood throughout your body, keeping all the other organs working. And walking will keep it in tip-top shape! Not only does it strengthen your heart, but walking reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. In fact, a brisk, daily walk for 30 minutes is said to reduce your risk of a stroke by 27%. It also reduces bad levels of cholesterol and increases the levels of good cholesterol!
2. Walking helps you lose weight
If you are new to exercise or just trying to lose some of that pandemic weight, then walking is a great way to take it off — and keep it off. Walking around 2mph for 30 minutes, you will burn about 75 calories. Increase that to 4mph and it rises to around 150 calories. Twenty minutes of walking every daily will burn an incredible seven pounds of body fat a year.
3. You can lower your risk of dementia
An older person who walks six or more miles a week is less likely to have problems such as dementia. This is because walking has been proven to prevent your brain from shrinking.
4. Walking gives you energy
There are times when you feel more lethargic than others, and if you find yourself in this zone, then a walk could do you some good. It boosts your circulation and increases the oxygen supply to your body, which in turn keeps you feeling alert and awake.
5. It’s a full-body workout
Many muscles are activated during walking, including the calves, glutes, hamstrings, quads, and abdominals, so give your legs, bum, and tum a workout. As walking becomes a habit, you can add more difficult terrain, burning more calories by pushing your body further.
6. It increases your Vitamin D intake
All around the world, lots of people are deficient in Vitamin D. The best way to increase your levels of Vitamin D is to soak up some sunshine, which will help bone health and boost your immune system.
7. Walking makes you happy
In the same way walking helps you feel energized, it can also make you feel happy. In fact, a brisk walk can be just as beneficial as taking an anti-depressant — so try it if you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, or stress.
8. Walking improves your creativity
In a 2014 study, Stanford researchers found that walking boosts creative inspiration. They examined creativity levels of people while they walked versus while they sat. A person’s creative output increased by an average of 60% when walking. In fact, we love walking meetings and brainstorming sessions outside.
9. It’s a great way to catch up with loved ones
Throughout the pandemic, we learned outdoors was safer than indoors—so a walk with friends can serve double duty, offering a much-needed chance to catch up while you also get fresh air and exercise. If you don’t live near friends or family, call or video chat with them during your walk.
10. Walking connects you to nature
Along with boosting creativity, walking in a park or near a body of water can make you feel more centered. When compared to a jaunt along a busy road, walking in a forest had significantly greater psychological benefits, according to a Northwestern University study of 38 participants. Studies have found that group nature walks were linked to fewer depressive symptoms, less stress, and an overall brighter mood.
11. Walking helps your doggies
The average dog owner walks an extra 22 minutes per day, a small British study of 43 pairs of dog owners and non-dog owners found. That’s enough to reap health benefits for you and your pup—walking also helps your pet’s joints, digestion, weight, and behavior. Plus, it’s just plain fun and a great way to spend some quality time with your dog, whether you’re one of the many who adopted a pandemic puppy or are just getting some extra one-on-one time with your loyal family pet.
12. An outdoor stroll is great for your eyes
When you stare at a screen all day, your range of focus narrows to the few feet in front of you. This fatigues the muscles that help the eye focus, contributing to digital eyestrain. While this usually will not harm your vision in the long run, it can contribute to symptoms such as headaches, sore eyes, and blurred vision. Strolling outdoors, however, requires that you use long-range vision, scaling the obstacles and terrain around you.
13. You can walk throughout the day
Unlike other exercises, you might not get sweaty — so you don’t always have to schedule a shower between your walk and your workday. If you’re working from home, it offers a welcome escape, either for a quick midday break or a way to start or end the workday. And you might not even need to change clothes. Just swap your slippers or work shoes for well-fitting walking or running shoes.
14. You can turn it up a notch
Walking counts as exercise nearly any way you do it. However, it’s helpful to designate your main purpose beforehand. If you’re mainly looking to unplug, leave the technology at home and don’t push the pace. On the flip side, there are ample ways to add some intensity and turn your walk into an intense workout. Besides inclines, you can also do some walking-based intervals—walk faster for one minute, then slower for two, on repeat. Or if you want an intense cardio workout, add a weighted vest and up the tempo of your walk. An hour-long walk on diverse terrain, while wearing a 10lb weight vest, can cover more than three miles and burn an amazing 450 calories.
Whether you’re taking to the streets to boost your fitness or calm your thoughts, adding a walk to your day can be a feel-good change to your routine. Consider it an act of fitness and self-care for your body and mind. And don’t forget, walking is not only fantastic for your health, but also for the environment. The Earth appreciates it, and she told us she likes it when you get outside to enjoy her beauty. Happy walking, friends.