May is here with a spring in its step, quite literally, as May is National Walking Month.
If you’ve been thinking about trying to get fitter, one of the easiest steps you can take (pun very much intended) is to do exactly that - take literal steps. Walking is probably the most underrated form of exercise, but did you know that it offers you a huge range of health benefits, both physical and mental?
Walking for a better body
It goes without saying that walking is moving, and getting your body moving more regularly will help you on your way to improved health, in particular, improved cardiovascular health. Walking regularly can improve heart and lung function, reduce blood pressure and lower cholesterol levels, which therefore reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke - something we all want to reduce the risk of!
High intensity exercise is not easy, but walking being a low-impact exercise that burns calories slowly but consistently means that it is an easier option to turn to when trying to beat the bulge. When combined with a healthy, balanced, calorie-controlled diet, low impact steady-state-cardio is a wonderful way to successfully burn calories without overdoing it or causing stress and strain on your joints or muscles. To support joints before heading out on a long walk, take a dose of Love Hemp CBD about 30 minutes before, and let the goodness of the hemp plant work its magic. We also recommend taking another dose before bed to support your joints and muscles and overall recovery through sleep and beyond.
Although walking sounds simple enough, if you’ve given yourself a challenge and perhaps headed out on a hike, or maybe a sponsored 5-10k walk, it can indeed cause muscle soreness and aches for the next few days! So plan ahead and prepare to recover properly by taking CBD and other supplements such as magnesium, which can relax the muscles and help prevent cramping (always consult your GP before introducing new supplements into your diet).
Walking for a better mind
It’s no surprise that improving your mental health often starts with exercise. Putting your body in a low state of “stress” means that your brain finds a way to cope - *endorphins enter the chat* - the natural feel-good hormone omitted when we exercise. Pair this with being outside in natural daylight, fresh air and lungs filled with oxygen, it’s no surprise that walking outside is a great way to reduce stress, anxiety and depression, while simultaneously combating fatigue. Curious on how walking can actually help sleep? Read on!
Walking as a miracle solution to poor sleep? You heard it here first!
If you’re one of the 71% in the UK not getting enough sleep, you may be surprised to learn that something as simple as going outside and walking in the morning could be the remedy you’re missing. Exposing ourselves to daylight and activating our circadian rhythm can lead to improved bodily functions, including a more balanced sleep-wake cycle, otherwise known as the circadian rhythm. Learn more on sleep and how daylight affects it.
Walking to socialise
Being in the great outdoors with others will give you a double hit of the feel good factor. We all know that socialising can be fantastic for supporting mental health. Interacting with others can help you feel less stressed by providing a distraction from your daily worries and stressors. Being with others in a social setting is also known to boost self-esteem by giving you a sense of belonging and social support. Going on a walk with a friend is an opportunity for emotional support, both ways. Having someone to talk to about your problems and also being a sounding board and listener to others, can help you feel better and reduce feelings of isolation.
Walking to help others
If walking to benefit yourself doesn’t quite do it for you, have you considered doing a sponsored walk to raise money for a cause close to your heart? There are many organised walks and hikes available to sign up to that will challenge yourself to go that literal extra mile, and explore the great landscapes of Great Britain! Check out some of the links below for some inspo, and perhaps sign up with a friend so that double the money can be raised and you have a companion for your challenge!
Walking is a simple, accessible and effective way to improve physical and mental health and can easily be incorporated into daily routines, but what is possible for those who are physically less able? Well there are no rules when it comes to being outside, moving and being with others. If you are in a wheelchair, or need a stick or crutches to help you get about, grab a friend and make your outing a social one… or even better, set yourself the challenge of doing a sponsored route such as The Great Ormond Street Hospital Race for Life 5K where they encourage participants to walk, jog, wheel, or scoot 5k with your family or friends, all in unity with the goal to help beat childhood cancer.