If you’ve been walking more since the start of the pandemic, you’ve probably seen some positive changes. And even if you haven’t noticed the benefits of walking, they’ve definitely been going on in the background. There’s every reason to carry on getting out on foot after the lockdown ends – and the Bridgwater Way offers miles of routes round the town, starting close to your doorstep.
Although it’s sometimes overlooked as a form of exercise, walking is one of the easiest ways to be more active, lose weight and become healthier. Walking briskly can help you build stamina, burn excess calories and make your heart healthier – it’s good for your muscles and bones too. A brisk ten-minute daily walk counts towards your recommended 150 minutes of weekly exercise and, apart from a comfortable, supportive pair of boots or trainers, you don’t need any special kit.
Regular exercise lifts your mood and can help alleviate depression. If you find yourself feeling a little down or overwhelmed sometimes, getting outside for a walk can really lift your mood. Like any other cardiovascular activity (sustained exercise that makes you slightly breathless and raises your heart rate), brisk walking boosts the production of stress-busting endorphins that help you feel happy, positive and relaxed. It also helps raise your self-esteem, as you start to feel good about your lifestyle choices and the positive effects they’re having on your health.
Finding it difficult to drop off to sleep at night? Exercise can help with that too. Taking some time away from phones, computers and TV screens, out in the fresh air, will clear your head and a little physical exertion will create the kind of tiredness that helps you relax into a refreshing slumber when your head hits the pillow.
Investing in you
Exercise is an ideal investment in your long-term health too. It can reduce your risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, cancer and type 2 diabetes by up to 50%, lowering your risk of early death by up to 30%. Exercising regularly also helps keep bugs at bay by boosting your immune system.
And if that’s not enough to persuade you to keep putting one foot in front of the other, exercise keeps you on top form mentally, helping create new brain cells that enhance your brain’s performance.
Younger, fitter, healthier, happier, more relaxed and more on-the-ball – who knew a simple walk had so many hidden benefits. Visit The Bridgwater Way map to discover new routes to walk: maps.bridgwaterway.co.uk