Friends who do this will always tell you, that you should too! Health professionals tell almost everyone they can be doing more of this. Physical therapists and fitness instructors think it’s one of the safest things most people can do! What is it? WALKING! For most able-bodied people, walking can be the answer to greater wellness. Greater wellness means you may lose/maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress, and even find an increase in your social, spiritual, environmental, financial wellness, and more! On top of all these benefits, it’s also free!
Walking burns calories and engages muscles, and therefore it can be used as a weight management tool! In general, if we want to lose weight, we need to burn more calories than we consume. For many people, we are moving much less than we think, and adding in extra steps may be the key to a healthier waistline. If you aren’t sure how many steps you are getting each day, your phone, watch, or even a pedometer from the dollar store can help you see where you are at. If you are getting in less than 10,000 steps a day (the nationally recommended amount) work on increasing your steps to get there. If you are at 5000, try for 6500, these slow and steady increases will help support a healthier weight and metabolism.
Walking is a wonderful way to manage stress! Moving the body, in general, can help with physical and mental tension, not to mention you can trigger feel-good chemicals that can help elevate daily levels. Many people find walking in nature a way to disconnect from stress around them and a chance to reconnect with themselves and sometimes can help foster a spiritual wellness practice. You can use your walks as a chance to recollect your thoughts or even just enjoy music and let go of the internal dialogue that may be stealing your joy. Better yet, walk with a friend and increase your social wellness as well. Walks are perfect ways to meet up and reconnect with a friend or get to know someone new! And, environmentally, a walk is way better for the environment too! That walk to work or to hang out with a friend has so many benefits.
The best part about walking is it’s FREE! It’s also likely available to you right now! If you are able-bodied enough to walk, you can do it right now, right where you are! Stand up and walk in place! That counts. Free walking often feels like an obstacle for people because they want a place to “go,” but you don’t need one! You can walk around the house; you can find ways to add more steps at work. You can walk around stores, you can walk the bike paths, if you can walk, you can do it now. Don’t limit yourself by overthinking what this needs to look like. You don’t have to have a special reason or place to do it. Sometimes walking for wellness can even look like walking in front of the tv. Steps are steps, and any steps you are taking are worth it, whether they are at home, at work, or outside. Instead of overthinking or looking for reasons you can’t, think of all the ways you can.
Walking can literally propel us to greater wellness! One foot in front of the other and you can change your health, your mindset, and even your life! We believe in walking so much that we have started our own Walking Wednesdays in a variety of towns to help some people get the motivation to get their feet moving. Last week was our first walk in Newport and we have one more on June 8th in Newport as well! Meet us at the fish at noon for a walk and light stretch. Our next segments will meet at Baxter Park in Derby Line, on Wednesday, June 23 and 29 at noon. Please wear comfortable walking clothes and shoes. Bring a hat, water, and sunscreen, and of course, if you have any reason to believe that you may have limitations or concerns about walking, check with your healthcare professional. Otherwise, let’s make a commitment to get out there either on these organized Wednesdays, with friends, or even on our own to walk our way to greater wellness!
Director of The Wellness Center