Walking is a great way to enhance your overall health and it’s totally free. By just taking a short walk every day you can make big changes to your life.
It might be a wee wander to work or taking the kids to school or a stroll to the shops. Whatever way you choose to fit a walk in your day, it will be a move towards feeling fitter and happier.
Here’s my top reasons for leaving the car and getting your walking shoes on.
- Get energised – a short walk, particularly in the morning, will give you the much needed energy for you day ahead. It gives you time to plan, re-assess and tackle the day, and it actually reduces fatigue. Stay motivated by making sure to take shorter trips at the weekend, such as a walk to the corner shop or taking a regular route with a friend.
- Get fit and healthy – walking is one of the easiest forms of exercise. But even though it’s simple it can have big effects of your everyday health and more long term, with walking playing a part in reducing the risks of developing heart disease, breast, and colorectal cancer as well as risks of depression, dementia
- Get happy – all those happy hormones and Vitamin D (for the occasional few Scottish summer months) when you’re out walking adds up to make you a much happier person. Studies have found that moderate exercise can be as effective as antidepressants. Walking releases all those feel-good endorphins as well as being been proven to enhance psychological wellbeing, self-perception, self-esteem and sleep quality.
- Enjoy the scenery – it’s a great big beautiful world out there and sitting in a car can means you don’t get to take in the sights and sounds that you do on foot. On your next walk, have a think about all the different things you spot that you wouldn’t have from the driver’s seat or back of the bus. My wee girl Nina has taught me all about this on our walks to nursery! Even better, if you go by foot, you’re playing your part in making that big beautiful world a cleaner place to live so encourage your friends, family and colleagues to get involved.
- Achieve your targets – walking can be a great way to get into a longer term, more intense fitness routine. Start off with a certain number of miles or steps and see if you can increase it over a six month period. You’ll no doubt be impressed by your results.
As well as being a GP, Dr Andrew Murray is a Sports and Exercise doctor with University of Edinburgh and has a thirst for adventure. aka The Marathon Man is a highly accomplished athlete and has completed 4300km from John O’Groats to the Sahara Desert and won races all over the world. Follow him on @docandrewmurray and www.docandrewmurray.com.
In a bid to get the nation involved in walking, we’ve launched a new #walktaework social media campaign looking for the best, brightest or strangest #walktaework. To get involved all you have to do is take a pic on your walking journey and post it on Instagram, Twitter using #walktaework or on Facebook by using #walktaework and posting it to our page. By simply sharing your morning stroll using this hashtag, you could be in with the chance of winning a Fitbit Charge HR. Each week throughout August there will be one up for grabs. The winning weekly pic will be announced the following Monday via our social channels.