Walking Your Way To Happiness
Walking in the countryside with beautiful views surrounding you. The warmth of the sun on your body, as you listen contentedly to the music of the birds singing in the treetops. Can you visualise this? Does it make you feel good?
Studies show that not only is walking good exercise but it is also a great way to de-clutter your mind. The fresh air and views of the countryside relax you and the exercise gives you that feel good factor due to the hormone called Endorphin which is released into your body making you feel exhilarated and happy. Combine this with sunshine, which increases the brains release of the ‘feel good’ hormone serotonin, and you have the prefect joyful recipe!
I love walking, especially in the countryside, and its great exercise. So I have compiled a list of 10 things to get the best out of your walk:
- Get up early. If you are trying to go for a peaceful walk with the noise of the morning traffic flying past you it isn’t what you would call relaxing. Also the added disadvantage of inhaling car exhaust fumes doesn’t make a healthy start to your day. So getting up that bit earlier before the day comes to life is going to be a much better option.
- Stretch. It is said by some that stretching your muscles before they have warmed up is risky. However striding out with tired morning muscles can increase the risk of injury. Gentle stretches involving your full body, like reaching your arms upwards and stretching out, combined with calf stretches are fine.
- Eat. Ok don’t stuff your face and end up with the stitch from hell. But it is important to have something light like fruit or a serial bar to keep your energy up.
- Wear appropriate clothing. Loose comfortable clothing like tracksuit bottoms or leggings are less restrictive than jeans. Depending on the weather wear the appropriate breathable top, layering if it is chilly, and a jacket if necessary. This means you wont perspire so much as you can remove layers accordingly if you get too warm.
- Footwear. It goes without saying trying to walk in a pair of high heels would be uncomfortable to say the least! But joking aside, a good sturdy pair of walking shoes or trainers are important to protect your feet, lessening the impact, and supporting your ankles. Also remember to wear good walking socks, not only are they more comfortable but they will keep your feet warmer. Again a good breathable pair so that you don’t come home with sweaty feet. Your nearest and dearest may not appreciated that!
- Stride out. Take long strides and walk at a brisk pace. This causes the body to dip into fat reserves so will start burning it off.
- Take some water. It is important to take water with you to keep hydrated. Dehydration can make you weak as when you perspire you lose a lot of water that way so it is important to replenish it..
- Don’t tiptoe out of the house then come back in again 5 minutes later! Studies show that the minimum amount of time you should work out is 20 minutes as this is when fat burning begins, if you do longer that’s even better!
- Warm down. Once you have finished your walk, gently stretch out again as this helps prevent aching muscles later on, and brings your breathing back to normal.
- Give yourself a pat on the back! You should be feeling pretty good by now, so keep it up and you’ll reap the benefits.
So there you have it! Walking is a great way to exercise, enjoy the outdoors and feel good at the same time. Also it puts less strain on your body than running, but carried out correctly it can keep you just as fit!
What type of exercise do you do, and how does it benefit you? Please let me know in the comments.