Though I love working out, there are times when I just want to take a break. And so I did, few days back. Instead,I went for a leisurely walk.
Not a very long walk. I didn’t measure how much distance I covered. Nor did I set any records. I can’t brag about how many “calories” I burned either.
Well, I just went for a stroll as I wanted to unwind, listen to some good music and get some “me” time.
And it was refreshing! For a long time, I underestimated walking as a form of exercise. I thought only beginners would benefit from it.
After all, there are so many exercises in which you will burn so many times more the number of calories than you would burn in a walk. And one of the important goals of exercise is to burn calories. If I could burn 200 calories from walking for 60 minutes, then I could double or triple that by jogging or lifting weights for that same amount of time. If some is good, then more must be better, right ???
Wrong. In the weight loss industry, walking is highly over-rated. Whereas in the fitness industry, it gets totally under-rated! It goes beyond the mathematical jazz of calories in v/s calories out.
Activities like walking, sleeping, and spending time outside don’t work because they burn more calories, they work because they improve the function and hormonal output of your entire body. Weight loss just happens to be a pretty nice side effect of a properly functioning body.
It’s true, walking is not an exercise, nor is it a substitute for a structured exercise. Both are mutually exclusive. & both should be a part of lifestyle if you aim to get or to always stay fit.
People anyways spend time listening to some good music or audio books while sitting in one place. Why not also burn some extra calories while doing so???
Here are some more benefits of taking a walk (leisurely or brisk) :
* Improves thinking and cognitive function
* Improves insulin response
* Improves memory
* It helps balance blood glucose levels (if done 2-3 hours post a meal)
* Helps improve blood circulation , which has many positive effects.
* Helps release happiness hormones like dopamine, endorphins etc. while balancing other hormones
* Helps overcome stress.
* It allows you some “me” time away from the chaos. You come back with a clear thinking and a better mood.
*You simply get to unwind. Unlike exercise where you must monitor your effectiveness & progress.
In my experience, no matter how long or short a walk maybe,I always feel fresh & in a better, clearer, more relaxed mindset than when I started. Especially, walking in a huge park or at sea side is more beneficial as you are close to nature and its good for overcoming fatigue or for de-stressing!
Add a brisk or leisurely walk to your daily/weekly schedule. But do not substitute your exercise for walk. Reap the benefits of both 🙂