Everyone with two healthy legs does it all the time. Walking, in itself, is such a natural thing for us that we don’t pay much attention to it since we learn how to do it as babies. But walking, on the other hand, is a cultural phenomenon as well, having deep physical and psychological effects on the human body. Strolling, hiking, stepping, touring… the list of all the possible ways one can walk is enormous.
Walking, as we will see, can also be a terrific health booster if practiced properly. Be it a short and fast one, a longer one on a beach, in a company, or solo, there are benefits to all of them, depending on what you like and where you are. There is not even much equipment needed, on a summer’s day you might only need a pair of shorts and a T-shirt, not even shoes.
Starting from the most inner one, regular morning walks can greatly improve one’s mood. The morning is troublesome for some people as it usually involves a lot of hurrying, getting ready for work or school, still feeling sleepy, etc. All of these things have deeper problems that walking, in itself, cannot solve, but incorporating morning walks into your schedule may be the key to feeling better most mornings.
If you are not used to walking in the morning, getting yourself ready for it will take some willpower the first couple of times, but once you start it is quite easy. This willingness to tackle the morning with a walk, early enough, instead of a rush to get ready for something, makes people, in general, feel much better and avoids the unneeded fuss that would normally happen.
A Healthy Routine
Doctors of all possible branches agree that having a certain routine during the day is beneficial to the organism, especially if said routine is made from light physical activity in an otherwise sedentary lifestyle. Morning walks fit perfectly into this and should therefore be practiced by anyone who has the time to do it.
As they start becoming a habit to us, we will also naturally have to wake up early enough to get everything done, which means going to bed early enough. By using Puffy’s sleep time calculator you can find out for yourself exactly when to go to bed, and when to get up is perfect for you. It depends greatly on age, and somewhat on sex, though being greatly exhausted the day before will surely put you to sleep much earlier than usual.
Part of a Diet
As obesity levels rise to an alarming level we must take care not to fall into this trap of becoming overweight due to a habit of excessive eating and not being physically active enough. The first is rather straightforward to solve – simply eat less. Though reading food labels and avoiding food that has large amounts of sugars and fat in it is also needed. Regarding the latter – being more physically active is sometimes harder to accomplish if our job requires us to sit for hours on end and drive to work.
Walking can partially solve this, as it engages large groups of muscles. It is an excellent light exercise for those who are not used to doing heavy work, as well as a chance to breathe in the fresh air outside, instead of a stale AC-circulated office.
The morning is arguably the most pleasant part of the day. During the night most places get unpleasantly cold, as well as being very dark, while during the morning there is natural light, but without the fuss of everyday life that starts later on. If you are traveling and want to experience a new environment free from tourists – going for a walk during the morning is the best time to do it.
Such a practice is recommended even by experienced hostel workers so it’s surely the way to go about it. A light stroll as the Sun goes up is the perfect way to clear your head and see your surroundings in a different way, without many cars or people blocking your view or making noise.
Developing Leg Muscles
Hiking is primarily a physical activity, there is no going around it. So besides spending calories while walking, through an increased heart and breathing rate, it also activates and develops our leg muscles. Different types of walks will develop different parts of the leg – tiptoeing and skipping tend to develop the calf muscles, while normal walking requires the entire leg to work in harmony.
The main leg muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, all need to be healthy and well stretched if you want to walk normally. A fast pace will inevitably develop them more and in time give you a very lean body, though there are faster ways of doing that instead of walking. Morning walks should primarily be light exercise as an introduction to the day ahead.
Time to Reflect
However fast or slow-paced it may be, walking is a mental undemanding activity and is therefore considered mind-relaxing. This aspect of it is probably the one most praised, as in today’s world of ever-present smartphones, being available to everyone and everything all the time, having an hour dedicated to yourself where you are not able to look at the phone but instead where you are stepping – is priceless.
Reflecting upon oneself and meditating are very important for spiritual well-being and should be done regularly. Although some people prefer to walk in a company, walking solo to be alone with your thoughts should be done sometimes too. Half an hour or hour is plenty of time to think back on what happened yesterday and what will happen today, and this was a favorite pass-time for many famous philosophers too, such as Emanuel Kant.
It would be too far-fetched to think of morning walks as a miraculous cure for illnesses, or that it can make someone extremely healthy on its own. But as a part of a routine and a healthy lifestyle in general, this type of exercise, if you will, has the potential to bring the body much good both physically and mentally.