Walking is inexpensive and can be an absolutely amazing addition to your healthy lifestyle choices!

     Hi there, it’s Elaine Gardner, the founder of DesignYourHealthyLife.com and today I want to talk to you about a simple tool for getting outdoors and moving more, and it’s just walking. I think we often have a preset mindset that exercise has to be complicated: a gym membership and clothes and driving back and forth, and so it’s time-consuming and costs money. And while having a gym membership or doing home gym-type of exercises (lifting weights, things of that nature) can definitely be part of a healthy lifestyle, it doesn’t have to be that complicated.

     So for me, walking is one of my favorite tools and it has so many incredible benefits that I want to share them with you and encourage you to get outside and explore for yourself. It’s a wonderful way to get outdoors and see how nature is unfolding. It is spring here in New England, well it’s spring everywhere, but spring is really taking shape here and the leaves are starting to pop. I’m actually standing in my backyard and you can see the buds are on the trees and things aren’t in full bloom, but it’s beautiful to see how things are unfolding. So as I go out on my walks I get to witness more of that. You’ll probably see some little bugs flying around, kind of irritating me while I’m trying to film, so that’s a downside of nature, but I’ll go with it because there’s so many benefits. So I get the exercise that I need, the movement that I need, and I don’t need any special equipment except for a good pair of walking shoes, so it’s very inexpensive. I can do it whenever, wherever; it doesn’t cost me much time as well. So in particular, now while the days are much longer, I have lots of available time during the day to get out.

     I’m actually dressed in my work clothes right now, so heading out for a walk before I go to the office. So you know, you can do it in normal clothes, so that’s another benefit. I have my iPod all ready to go with music loaded from my entire life of enjoying music, so depending on what mood I’m in, I have something to listen to. And for me, because I always have a lot on my mind and a lot of projects going on, it’s a really nice way for me to just let my thoughts go. And sometimes if I’m struggling with something, the answers will come to me when I’m walking. If something’s bothering me it will often sort itself out while I’m walking. Again, I just plug in my iPod, strap on my sneakers, off I go and I get a lot of amazing things done in my head while I’m walking as well, and wonderful music to boot. So again for me, it’s much more than just exercise. But definitely great exercise; I walk very briskly. I usually cover about a 3-mile loop in about a half an hour. And I go out as often as I can during the week. So it’s really an amazing tool, again for me to stay healthy in so many ways… physical health, mental health, emotional health… it covers all the bases for me.

     So if you haven’t been out getting in a walk, even if you don’t enjoy the outdoors the way I do, I think it still has a great benefit. Oh and I almost forgot, this time of the year too, you get the sun. We have a tendency to have a fear of sun these days, which is unwarranted and very tragic, as that’s one of the things that’s contributing to a huge vitamin D deficiency, especially for us New Englanders, and creating a whole host of health problems. So you need to be safe about your sun exposure, but certainly going out for a 30 minute walk is going to be fine for most people. So I get my sun, I get my fresh air, I get my exercise, my brain is allowed to go where it needs to go and I solve problems or clear stress. The benefits just go on and on.

     So I encourage you to, if you don’t have any good walking shoes, go out and get some and get out and walk as much as you can. If you’re new and you haven’t been walking a lot, even just starting with something like 5 minutes is a great tool for you, and work your way up as you go. So let me know if you are walking, what it provides for you. And if you’re not walking at all, if this has been inspiring and helpful for you at all, I’d love to know if you will now consider adding walking to your daily or weekly routine.