Author: Ayo Williams, PT & Fat Loss Specialist

If all the benefits of walking could be packaged up and sold in a little bottle, they could ‘name their price’ for it on Harley Street. The positive effects are available to many of us, and all it costs to get them is time. People come to me for help achieving lasting fat loss, and to restore their energy levels. Walking is by far, THE most underrated part of any honest and organised plan to get fitter, leaner, stronger and to improve your overall health.

Yes, it takes time… but adding just an extra 30 minutes of walking to your daily routine has been clinically shown to increase blood circulation, improve your mood and boost your brain activity. That’s right, walking. It’s important to move away from the notion that exercise/activity can only be ‘good’ for you if it’s uncomfortable. Sure, there’s a place for intensity, but steady, enjoyable, sustainable movement is as (if not more) important.

Forget about step-counting and burning calories for a moment. What about getting out of that chair? Your shoulders, back and hips will thank you! What about that feeling of escapism, or even just a change of scene? So many of us are spending more time sitting still without even a commute to break things up – especially over the last couple of years. You might ‘lose’ half an hour, but easily ‘gain it back’ in terms of increased productivity upon your return. In addition, getting up and moving often has the effect of de-stressing you, reducing anxiousness and restoring a sense of calm.

This feel-good factor can be accentuated by using the time spent walking doing something worthwhile that you don’t currently do enough of. ‘Thinking-time’, listening to music or that audiobook you’ve been meaning to start. Walking is a great time for conversations too. Walking and talking alongside someone is great. Nearly as good is an appointment in your diary that you can look forward to, with someone on the end of the line you can chat to, who has ‘made time’ to chat ‘n’ stroll. Try it; you’ll be surprised at how decadent and luxurious this can feel.

Getting your regular walk done can make a positive difference to your sleep quality too. Did you know that one of the ways that your body synchronises its biological clock is by the timing of when you get that first bit of natural light on your eyes. An early morning walk, coupled with a dark cool room at bedtime have been shown to make it easier to achieve deep, quality sleep, more often. Many of us, especially in the winter months struggle to get adequate amounts of vitamin D. Getting sunlight on your skin is a key catalyst for its production.