Living simple includes simple exercise. One of the best forms of exercise is also one of the simplest forms. Taking a daily walk is a great way to keep moving. Walking can also open the door to more vigorous forms of exercise.
I’ve had an on-again-off-again love affair with exercise my entire life. I’ve done everything from weightlifting to basketball to karate. I’ve gone as long as five years riding a bicycle as my primary source of transportation. I’ve hiked, skied, and snowshoed the Cascade Mountains.
I’ve gone through stages of rigorous exercise and I’ve gone through stages of almost no exercise. Through it all, I’ve learned that a daily walk is one of the best things one can do for the body, mind and spirit.
Physical Benefits Of A Daily Walk
According to the American Heart Association, walking helps:
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
- Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
- Improve blood lipid profile
- Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
- Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
- Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
- Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes
That’s a plethora of physical benefits for one of the simplest forms of exercise on Earth. A daily walk also has wonderful mental benefits.
Mental Benefits Of A Daily Walk
- Reduce stress
- Boost happiness
- Improve confidence
- Prevent memory loss
- Boost brainpower
- Inspire creativity
- Increase relaxation
Finally, a daily walk has many spiritual benefits.
Spiritual Benefits Of A Daily Walk
- Gets you in touch with nature
- Grounds you in the here and now
- Gives you time to meditate
- Gives you time to pray
- Allows you to study creation
With all these positive benefits, walking is something we should make time to do. Let’s look at some simple ways to find time to walk.
Finding Time For A Daily Walk
Some people claim they do not have time for exercise. Walking can be especially time consuming. Don’t let that stop you. Walking can fit into anybody’s schedule. Here are some simple ideas to make time for a daily walk.
- Get up half an hour earlier: This is a simple solution. It can work for most people. I’m a single dad to a nine-year-old girl, so it’s not my best option. But when Annie spends nights with her grandparents or friends, I love an early-morning walk.
- Walk during your lunch hour: I teach at a small college. It’s easy for me to walk the perimeter of campus. It’s about a mile and takes about fifteen minutes. I try to walk around the campus several times per week. Some days I do it twice.
- After dinner: In the fair-weather seasons this is my favorite time to walk. Two to three miles after dinner is a perfect walk for my daughter and me. You might have to sacrifice TV, but it’s well worth it.
- A combination: This is the best strategy. Make a combination of mornings, lunch hours and evenings. On weekends you can take longer walks or hikes. You can park farther out in parking lots during routine shopping trips. Or walk to the store if it’s within a short distance of your home.
Walking is a perfect, simple exercise. Don’t hesitate to get started. If you already walk, add miles to your current routine. Currently, I walk about 6 to 8 miles per week. I’m going to challenge myself to double that, even through the coming winter months. Will you join me? Take a daily walk as part of the 10 Step Challenge to live simple.