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“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” Henry David Thoreau.
Walking is undeniably the easiest way to get active but it's holistic benefits reach much further than just boosting fitness and dropping a few pounds. I'll admit that a few years ago I would have needed some convincing but when I become mama to a beautiful pup a few years ago, daily walks became a precious, non-negotiable part of my day. The benefits go way beyond what I've written here but these alone are great reasons to get started…
If a good night’s sleep seems out of reach then it's possible that walking could help. Not just as a way to burn excess energy - although that probably wouldn’t hurt - but it’s a great way to balance your natural body clock. Daylight helps us to stay naturally awake during the day and to slowly retire in the evening as it fades. There's a couple of ways that you can make this work for you. Firstly, without sufficient daylight in the morning it’s possible that your body clock is not efficiently waking up and recognising the start of the day – once out of sync, it becomes harder for it to naturally slow down for rest in the evening which can cause difficulty getting to sleep. The solution, it sounds simple but a quick walk around the block with the dog or parking a little further away from your building and walking could boost your daylight quota and help you sleep soundly at night. Secondly, if you're prone to feeling sleepy during the day, avoid that nap – it could keep your restorative evening sleep at bay – try swapping 40 winks for a walk in the daylight.
Stress is one of the biggest culprits for keeping happiness at bay and it's well known that exercise can help - which should be motivation enough to get us all moving. What I love is that it doesn't take long to wake up those mood boosting endorphins; it's said that even a 10 minute brisk walk can help. And, be honest who can't find 10 minutes; leave your phone behind and enjoy a moment of solitude during your lunch break or finish your day with a walk out with the dog.
It's long been known that exercise boosts creativity; there's even science to back it up! Today, it’s not unheard of to take business meetings on the move or grab a brisk walk when the creativity just isn't flowing. You can leave perfection behind, there's no need to wander across rolling hills and fields to feel the benefits; out-doors in any form is good enough, leaving very few excuses for getting started. Exactly, why this boosts our brains creativity is uncertain, suggestions include the fact that the decision making part of our brain is distracted allowing space for inspiration - that would normally be hidden - to sneak in. Again, how it works is not as important as giving it a go. So, next time you're waiting for a lightning bolt of inspiration to strike, try grabbing your coat and go walking for it!
Bonus: Overachiever? Try smiling while you walk to boost your mood. It’s said to help reduce stress and improve your natural resilience to illness!
AUTHOR: LEANNA DOOLIN
Co – Founder of holistic skincare brand, Pure Thoughts and advocate for women finding pause in their day to breathe deeply, give thanks and reconnect to what matters. Loves early mornings, dogs and books that you can’t put down.