Going on a walk can be a great activity for self care and has multiple benefits for our health. It is great for our heart and lungs, helps build bone density and safe for our joints, gets us outdoors in the fresh air, reduces time spent in front of a screen, helps us relax, clears our mind, and just plain and simply gets us moving. Researchers recommend getting 30 minutes of brisk walking in most days of the week, meaning you can still talk to a friend while you are walking, but maybe not sing and dance. If walking 30 minutes is too difficult to do at once, break it up by starting at 8-10 minutes and slowly increase your time.
How you walk can be just as important as the walking itself. Is your posture rounded through your shoulders with your head down, or are you upright, head and shoulders back, with a smile? Studies have shown your posture can effect the things you remember, and potentially your mood. Mindful walking, taking in the scenery, feeling your body move, and focusing on your breath can decrease mental stress and improve quality of life.
Having trouble finding time to incorporate walking into your daily routine? Try scheduling it at the same time each day. If this is challenging to do, here are some other useful tips to get those steps in.
-Take the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you have the opportunity
-Park at the back of the parking lot when you go to the store
-walk your dog
-get off public transport one stop earlier
-have your ride share driver drop you off at the end of your block.
You might find asking a friend or neighbor to walk with makes it more enjoyable and helps to keep you accountable. Writing a log or keeping track of your activity can also help with making self care happen and meeting your self care goals.