Several times in the last week I’ve had clients say to me (in various forms), “I just can’t seem to get out for a run or do a workout…so I’ve just been walking.”
This is usually said with a tone of guilt and an air of “not-enough-ness” that breaks my heart.
My response is always … “Don’t just yourself! Walking is awesome! It’s more than enough and for many reasons it may be perfect form of movement right now! But most importantly you’re moving your body – and that’s what counts!”
As I talked about last week in my Blog on Creating a Pandemic Health Zone when it comes to movement, we may need to adjust our expectations around movement especially. This is particularly stressful and everyone response to stress differently. And we need to give ourselves a wide berth of grace to navigate these waters in a way that best serves us. That might mean you need more rest and to take a pause on more intense activity. That’s ok!
And here’s what I really want you to hear: walking is awesome (really). It’s a great low impact way to kick up your heart rate and respiratory rate into a moderate to vigorous intensity and get you into the health benefit zone for physical activity. And there’s more….
Here are some of the other reasons I love walking:
- Walking is accessible! Pop on your shoes and you’re ready to go!
- It’s inclusive! You can include kids and other family members of all ages and abilities.
- You can go at whatever pace works for you and your body – and be responsive to your daily energy levels (it’s normal to feel a fluctuation with all this stress).
- There’s no fancy equipment required. Just a good pair of shoes and you’re good to go (PS. if you’re local Frontrunners Nanaimo is doing virtual fittings – how cool is that?! Not local? Consider reaching out to your local walking/ running store!).
- You can keep it lower intensity by walking a flatter route at a slower pace OR you can amp things up by finding a hilly route (or walking repeats on a hill).
- All terrain is good terrain! You can take to the city streets OR head into the woods (just make sure you’re maintaining physical distance). Bonus by heading to the trails you’re getting the benefit of “green exercise.” Studies show that “green exercise” (aka exercising outside) can have positive effects on self-esteem and improve your mood, and the effect is especially noticed in people with mental illnesses like depression and anxiety.
- It’s a moving meditation. Because there’s not any real “skill” required for walking, you can really let your mind focus elsewhere. Plus the rhythmic nature of the walking stride encourages our brains to settle. Try using a mantra as you walk. One of my faves is “om gan ganpataye namah.” This mantra is a chant to Ganesh (the remover of obstacles), and loosely translates to “salutations to the remover of obstacles.” I’m not sure about you but I could use some removing of obstacles right now.
Need some inspiration to get moving? Here are some of the ways I amp up the JOY in my walks:
- Count the hearts in windows (gosh I love that so many communities are doing this). No hearts? Count something else – blooming trees, flowers…or cats! I have a client who goes for “cat walks” – she’s a cat lover who doesn’t own a cat. So by looking for cats on her walk she increases her accountability and JOY!
- Phone a friend. We may not be able to walk with our buddies – but we can walk and talk with them. Both walk, and plug into your headset and walk away – together (but apart).
- Listen to a great podcast or audiobook. I’m currently listening to Glennon Doyle’s new book “Untamed” I actually walked further this morning because I wanted to keep listening (winning!).
- Music is magic! Clearly this is obvious but a great playlist with some upbeat tunes goes a long way. You can find a few Super You lists on Spotify by searching for “User: Gillian Goerzen.” My fave go-to is my long run playlist (I use it for walks and runs)!
- Make it social (but physically distant). Make a point of saying hello or waving at every single person you pass. This will increase your sense of community and connection (plus it feels very 1950’s and kinda awesome).
Aim to set a daily “lower limit” of walking for 30-minutes per day. Over the week that means you’ll far exceed the recommended 150-minutes of physical activity for overall health and well-being and you’ll hit that sweet spot of daily movement that triggers mental health benefits (hello, win!).
Whatever you do, don’t “just” it.
Walking is awesome, and so are YOU!
PS. Need some more support? I’ve got you. I’m still offering one-to-one coaching (and it’s currently available on a sliding scale for payment). You could also join us as a member of the Super You Studio. Not only do you get my support as your coach through one-to-one calls and monthly Zooms, you also get an amazing community of like-minded women!