I’ve been pretty impressed this year with the whole FitBit thing. I’ve actually kept up my daily walk pretty consistently.  I did start with a pact with my BFF back on on Christmas Eve, when we’d had a few too many bubbles – that has gone somewhere by the wayside ie the BFF forgets to charge her FitBit.  But she did get me started and I’ll repay the favour by hassleing her to pull her finger out… That’s what BFFs are for right?

The World Health Organisation (WHO), US Centre for Disease Control, US Surgeon General, American Heart Foundation, US Department of Health & Human Services, and the National Heart Foundation of Australia all recommend individuals take 10,000 steps a day to improve their health and reduce the risk of disease.

I love the whole wearble device and fitness tracker idea… I don’t doubt for one minute it really does encourage people to walk… and walk that little bit further.  10,000 steps is an arbitrary number and the default for most trackers… I’m sure just an increase from what every you do today would be beneficial. If you already do 10,000 steps, then doing 15,000 is going to make you that little bit healthier.

fitness tracker

My competitive nature in the Work Week challenges has managed to get me up to an average of 20,000 over the last month or so. It really does help you get moving

We all know the health benefits of walking, such as losing weight, strengthening muscles, and lowering the risk of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and cancer, but a brisk 30-minute walk each day also provides several non-physical benefits. Take up walking and you too can enjoy:

  • An improved mood
  • More energy
  • Better sleep
  • Improved sex life
  • Something fun to do

A daily walk improves your mood

As you walk, you’ll burn calories, lose weight, get more toned and as a result feel better about yourself. And when you feel better about yourself, your confidence and self-esteem also improve. Walking is a good way to relieve the stress of a hard day at work. When you walk, endorphins – the feel-good hormone – is released in your brain making you feel happier and more relaxed.

A 1999 study of people over 60 found that walking 45 minutes a day at a 16-minute mile pace increased their thinking skills. Subjects started at 15 minutes of walking and built up their time and speed. The result was that they were found to be mentally sharper after taking up the walking program.

A daily walk can give you more energy

Walking improves your cardiovascular system. This in turn allows more blood flow to your muscles and tissue thus boosting your strength and endurance by providing more oxygen and nutrients to your tissues. Plus because walking is a good cardio exercise, you’ll lose weight. Not having as much weight to carry around alone gives you more energy because your body doesn’t have to work a hard doing the normal daily tasks as it did when you were heavier.

Taking as few as 15 steps every 30 minutes could be the difference between feeling tired and sluggish and feeling energised at the end of the day, new research shows.

A study by Australian and Swedish researchers, publishedrecently in the British Medical Journal, shows that intermittent, light-intensity walking may counteract fatigue, particularly among office workers.

daily walk

 

Better Sleep

Going for a daily 30-minute walk can help you get to sleep faster and stay asleep. While you are asleep a lot happens inside your body. This is the time when your body repairs and builds muscle tissue and cells. It stands to reason if your give your body more time to repair itself while you are asleep, it will be in a better state when you wake up in the morning.

When a US Council on Physical Fitness asked seven medical experts to ra­te the sleep-promoting abilities of a whole gamut of physical activities, walking beat out many popular sports, such as handball, squash, basketball, calisthenics, tennis, downhill skiing, softball, golf, and bowling.

girl-sleeping-on-bed

Improved Sex Life

If you are too tired or too out of shape, you can’t enjoy physical intimacy the way you should.

Not only does this affect you, but your partner also. When you lose weight and get in shape, not only do you feel better, but look better too, giving you more confidence that you can please the other half!

Let’s face it, when we are in shape we feel sexy, and we want to get down to business!

Studies also have shown that men who exercise have less problems with erectile dysfunction then those who don’t.

At the 2010 meeting of the Urological Association, Erin McNamara, MD, of Duke University Medical Center presented findings that stated: “Men who were moderately active – walking briskly just thirty minutes a day, four days a week, or the equivalent – were about two-thirds less likely to have sexual dysfunction than their sedentary counterparts.”

Something fun to do

And finally, walking is fun. It gets you out of the house and a chance to enjoy the outdoors – witness new sights and smells and hear the birds sing. If you walk with a friend, it is a great way to socialize and hold each other accountable. Both of you may not to walk on a certain day but because neither of you want to let the other person down, so you walk. Once finished, you are glad you did. Daily walk? – Done!

daily walk

This is the key behind the fitness trackers…. those who are most successful with their trackers, have friends, join the community, compete in challenges.  There is a lot to be said for group motivation and friendly competition (did I mention I was competitive?)

Walking isn’t just about fitness. There are several non-fitness and mental advantages to going for a daily walk. So isnt it time to strap on your walking shoes and get started today!

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