7 Benefits of Taking a Walk

Babble.com
Benefits of taking a walk...
Benefits of taking a walk...

It sounds too simple to be true, but taking a brisk, daily walk, even for 15 minutes, can change your life. Doing so will jumpstart your new year's exercise plan and speed up your metabolism. At under a half hour a day, it's easy to fit into your routine and doesn't require a gym membership or a personal trainer. But if you need more convincing, here are 7 benefits of taking a walk:





1. It'll get you in touch with nature
It's kind of cute when my toddler grabs my cell and tromps around babbling as if she were in a real conversation, but her fascination with technology is also mildly freaky. If you're worried your kid is overstimulated by electronics, step outside. There are many more interesting things to be seen while on a walk around your neighborhood, no matter where you live, than on a cell phone or computer. Besides, I'd much rather her marvel at real birds than "Angry Birds" any day.



2. It keeps you healthy
Yes, chasing kids around all day is exhausting, but just because you're tired at day's end doesn't necessarily mean that you're getting the recommended amount of exercise to stay healthy. A daily walk is the perfect go-to workout for parents who can't always get away for a half hour and it will actually increase your energy. The American Heart Association, which recently began the Start! Walking campaign, says that a 30-minute walk each day will help you to maintain a healthy weight, lower blood pressure and even make you live longer.

Related: Getting in shape after baby - 10 exercise tips for new moms



3. It relieves stress
Whether you are home with the kids or in an office for most of the day, even a short walk, 5-10 minutes, can help you to feel more relaxed and focused. If you wake up feeling super anxious about what the day is going to bring, or how you are going to handle everything that's on your plate, take a relaxing stroll. It may help you to think more clearly, as will stepping outside for some fresh air and a quick break. Hey, smokers do it all the time, so don't feel like you aren't allowed to take a few minutes here and there. It may also help to promote creativity, so you'll do better at home, or at work.



4. It's a good way to connect
The after dinner walk is one of my favorite times to chill out and actually get to talk to my husband instead of just falling asleep on him. (It's also a good time to fill him in on the cuteness - and the terror - he missed that day). When our daughter was an infant, she would fall asleep as we pushed her. Now, she chats to us from her stroller, but it's still a good way to settle her down for the night. Walking after a meal improves digestion, too, whereas lying on the couch in a coma-like state probably does not.



5. It's a good time-killer
Maybe it's just postpartum hormones (they're still around after 19 months, right?), but sometimes after playing games, reading the same book 17 times and cleaning up nine bajillion messes, the late afternoon starts to creep slowly by (until 5:30 when my husband walks in and get cussed out almost immediately). Best way to kill 30 minutes and prevent obscenities: stroll, stroll, stroll. Having something to do on those long afternoons is crucial, and a week (or a day!) without a parental meltdown will make you feel like a huge parenting success.

Related: The top 50 workout products for women



6. It can provide much-needed quiet time
If there is one thing that motivates me to get the stroller moving day after day, it's the quiet time. Toddlers are completely insane. I love mine, but she rarely stops talking long enough for her mother to finish a thought (let alone write this article). But while being pushed in the stroller, she's usually fairly quiet while watching the world around her. These moments where I can simply let my mind wander are epic. Maybe it won't last an entire 30 minutes, but even just a few can feel like a mental massage.



7. It sets a positive example
There are few greater gifts we can give our children than to teach them the importance of being active. A daily walk might seem simple, and it is, but making this a habit will ingrain in them the power of exercise. Doing so will help you and your kids live active lives instead of sedentary ones, so lead by example and improve your life while you do. Raising active children lowers their risk (and yours) for obesity and a variety of health problems, as well.

- By Sarah Bregel

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It'll get you in touch with nature
It'll get you in touch with nature
It keeps you healthy
It keeps you healthy
It relieves stress
It relieves stress
It's a good way to connect
It's a good way to connect
It's a good time-killer
It's a good time-killer
It can provide much-needed quiet time
It can provide much-needed quiet time
It sets a positive example
It sets a positive example