Medical professionals have always stressed the importance of exercise – whether a hard workout or relaxing morning yoga – to keep our bodies and minds at their best. However, in the midst of a national pandemic where nearly every day brings a new uncertainty, exercise becomes even more important. Consider taking a breather, if possible, to reap some of the benefits of a simple daily walk.
Physical benefits of walking
We’ve been told to stay at home to help flatten the curve, but keeping active is good for all of us. Walking, running, or cycling is permitted, as long as you practice social distancing per the State of Maryland. Many experts recommend walking as a great form of exercise because just about everybody can do it – and it’s free!
The CDC recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week. You can break this down into 30-minute walks, five days a week, or however you’d like. Any physical activity is better than none, and can help with:
- Better balance
- Improved management of hypertension, cholesterol, or diabetes
- Increased cardiovascular fitness
- Reduced body fat
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
- Stronger bones and increased muscle strength
Make your walk into a family routine, a solo morning meditation, or an after-dinner stroll – anything you can do around the same time every day. Bring your favorite music, quarantine buddy, or pet, and enjoy some fresh air. Count your steps with an app if you’re looking for extra motivation. Or, just relax and take the time to enjoy the view as spring begins to bloom.
Emotional and mental benefits of walking
In addition to the physiological benefits of exercise, it can also help lessen some of the anxiety we’re all experiencing lately. The Mayo Clinic reports that regular exercise helps ease depression by releasing endorphins and other natural brain chemicals that can enhance your sense of well-being.
They, like the CDC, also recommend about 150 minutes a week, saying that thirty minutes or more “of exercise a day for three to five days a week may significantly improve depression or anxiety symptoms. But smaller amounts of physical activity — as little as 10 to 15 minutes at a time — may make a difference.”
Getting outdoors in the fresh air can improve your mood and your health, according to research at University of Washington’s EarthLab. It can lower your stress levels, and help you deal with anxiety, too.
Stay safe while walking
Walking is a safe way to exercise, but you must still take precautions, both for your health and safety. Keep the following in mind if you’re new to walking or short hikes:
- Before starting any exercise program, check with your doctor, especially if you are older, overweight, or haven’t exercised in a long time.
- Choose a walk/terrain that fits your age and fitness level.
- Start and end with a slow walk for warmup and cooldown.
- Wear appropriate footwear to avoid shin splints or blisters.
- Carry a walking stick or umbrella.
- Wear reflective clothing.
- Bring your phone, identification, and water.
Stay healthy, happy, and enjoy a good walk, even if it’s on the treadmill at home!
The Maryland attorneys at Plaxen & Adler, P.A. wish you the best of health during this difficult time. We remain open for business and can help you with any of your legal concerns. To set up a consultation, call us today at 410-730-7737 or complete our contact form.