Exercise doesn’t have to be taxing – 5 reasons to go for a walk

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By Ilse de Graaf

I’m sure the natural image to conjure up when you think of trying to lose weight is extensive exercise, hitting the gym 6 or 7 times a week or attending HIIT or spin classes. But do you know what Ninja? Extensive exercise isn’t always the answer, in fact, it can sometimes be damaging, both physically and mentally. Exercising that much without a gradual build up can cause problems for your joints and muscles. It can also be mentally challenging, going to the gym everyday is a lot of pressure and missing a session can lead to feelings of guilt and shame.

People who go for walks regularly, swear by the health and psychological benefits. Here are 5 great reasons why walking could be the perfect exercise for you.

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Reduces stress and cheers you up
Have you ever heard the phrase ‘blow away the cobwebs’, well that’s exactly the feeling I get from going for a walk. You can often leave the house feeling overwhelmed or experiencing brain fog but after a 15-20 minute walk, you feel refreshed, clear of mind and energized. Walking produces endorphins which is our body’s natural ‘happy chemical’ so not only does walking reduce stress, it also cheers you up. Going for a walk in green space also helps you to reconnect with nature. Getting outside regularly is super important, this modern world has us working indoors, living indoors and socialising indoors – sometimes we need to take time to reflect and go back to our roots in nature. I’m not saying you have to go out and hug a tree RIGHT NOW but just be mindful of what surrounds you whilst you walk. The trees, the grass, the bird song. Connecting with nature will help you to feel grounded and restore calm.

Reduces cravings
Walking can actually reduce your appetite for snack cravings. I speak to a lot of women and they generally report regular cravings for sugary or refined foods, which is obviously bad news when it comes to weight loss. The Power Method includes lots of helpful information about how to manage snack cravings and alike but I thought it may be interesting for you to know that just getting outside and going for a walk could help.

It’s free and easy
Hey good news, walking is free – didn’t you know? How many times have you signed up for a gym membership only to leave it unused whilst the money continues to be debited from your account? Eek! Expensive gym memberships don’t have to be part of your weight loss plan if the gym isn’t for you. Take up walking instead. The great thing about going for a walk is that you can go at any time, you can wear anything you want and absolutely anyone can join you – no membership required! Try walking with a friend for added motivation, you can both pop on your pedometers and increase your steps each week. Plus, if you walk with a friend you are bound to enjoy it all the more! I love to chat and walk with friends.

Helps to lose weight and build stronger bones
Walking helps you to lose weight, I mean, it is exercise afterall. By walking for up to 30 minutes every day you will start to notice a difference, you will be more toned and naturally energized. Walking is low impact so it is great for your body and it is great for people of all ages. Walking is also recommended for people with health problems such as heart conditions or issues with their joints. You can strengthen your bones through regular walking now to avoid fractures, osteoporosis and spine shrinkage when you start to grow older. If you are new to exercise, I wouldn’t recommend going in all guns blazing, start small and slowly work up your pace and timing. You could start with a 10-15 minute stroll and work up to a 30 minute brisk walk or if you’re feeling ready, a power walk. You could also alternate between each style, depending on how you feel on that day.

Lowers blood pressure and improves sleep
Along with eating right and exercising, getting quality sleep is an important part of maintaining a healthy weight. The less you sleep, the more weight you gain, and the more weight you gain, the harder it is to sleep. A healthy sleeping pattern is integral to a healthy lifestyle. It has been proven that walking regularly can also reduce blood pressure, high blood pressure is linked to heart problems as well as illnesses such as dementia. By walking, not only are you improving your health by losing weight, you are also impacting your overall health and wellbeing.

So who’s with me? Are you ready to get outside and ‘blow away the cobwebs’?

Thanks for reading you POWERful, strong and body positive ninja. You’ve got this! Don’t forget to join the #bodypositive movement on Instagram and share this blog post with your friends!

xx Ilse

Founder & Coach
Weight Loss Ninja