Under Covid-19 restrictions, it can be difficult to keep active while staying safe. One great way to look after yourself is to go for a walk in your area. Taking a walk outside can offer so many benefits for both physical and mental health. In this blog, we’ll be looking at 3 major health benefits of walking outside in nature.
1. Boost Your Mood
Of all the benefits of stepping outside, the first difference you’ll notice is a boost to your mood. Even a brief walk a few times a week will help you relieve stress and feel happier. Exercise releases endorphins – otherwise known as happy hormones – which make you feel good.
During lockdown, it’s easy to feel stressed about the pressures of staying safe. In addition, staying inside for days at a time can lead to boredom. Staying active can improve mental health, especially for older people. Walking for an hour every day can reduce your risk of depression by up to 26%. It can also be very beneficial for people who have depression.
2. Increased Immunity
Other than improving our moods, another of the health benefits of walking is bolstering your physical health. Did you know that regular walking can help you look after your immune system?
Physical exercise can increase the number of white blood cells in your bloodstream. White blood cells help your body fight off infections and diseases. In fact, a study of more than 1,000 adults found that those who walked at least 30 minutes a day for five days a week took 43% fewer sick days on average.
To make the most of these benefits, you should aim for 30-45 minutes of moderate to brisk walking five days a week.
3. Keep a Healthy Mind
Walking will raise your heart rate, increasing oxygen flow to your brain. This can help reduce your risk of several serious health conditions, including several disorders which can cause memory loss.
In addition, exercise helps to reduce insulin resistance and inflammation, both of which can have negative impacts on brain health. Therefore, walking not only improves your health now but it can also help you maintain good health for longer.
Practice Makes Perfect
If you’re out of practice when it comes to exercising, the key is to start slowly. To begin with, try going for short walks near your home – even 10 minutes will help. Starting small and building up your walking time will help you improve steadily and reap the benefits of walking in nature.
Remember to stay within 5km of your home to adhere to Covid-19 restrictions. If you enjoyed this article, why not read Exercise at Home: Fitness Tips for Older Adults
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