While it is still pretty hot during the day here in Florida, the humidity has lifted. That has made the mornings quite nice, so I’ve been able to resume my walking in the neighborhood. There is nothing like getting outdoors to revive your spirits and get some exercise. I’m greeted by the calls of the whippoorwills, the breeze drifting through the trees and the sun is warm and toasty on my shoulders.
I ran across a woman walking her baby in a stroller this morning and started thinking back to the days when my girls were little. We’d go outside every chance we could, first with them in strollers, then trotting beside me down the road. I couldn’t wait for them to be old enough to read, so I plopped them in a red wagon and pulled them to the library to check out picture books before they’d mastered words. Not surprising they both grew up loving to read.
Today I walk not just because I love to get outdoors, but as I grow older, I find that keeping healthy is a top priority. I still take a class at the gym, but walking on the off days keeps me active and varies my routine.
So, what are the benefits of walking?
Good health. Walking for 30 minutes a day or more on most days of the week is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Walking increases cardiovascular and lung fitness, strengthens bones, reduces joint pain and improves balance, along with burning calories and boosting immune function and energy. With this in mind, getting in 10,000 steps is worthwhile.
Clear your mind. Regular aerobic exercise appears to increase memory. Walking also opens up a free flow of ideas and is a great way to increase creativity. I find that when I’m stuck while writing a book, going out for a walk stimulates my creativity and I’m able to problem solve in my story. Walking allows you to take in what’s going on around you and what you’re experiencing through your senses.
Stress buster. Walking can calm your mind and elevates your mood. Boosting the circulation that delivers more nutrients and oxygen to cells produces feel-good hormones. It will also improve your sleep.
Make it pleasurable. In order to get out a few times a day, walking should be fun. Vary where you walk, walk with friends or join a walking club. Having a conversation makes walking less of a chore and more fun. You can work up to longer hikes. This is what my daughter and I did when we traveled to the mountains this summer to hike the trails. It was challenging and fun.
Spending quiet time with God. I find some of my best conversations with God happen when I’m walking. I’m not distracted by daily life and can purposely focus on spending time with Him.
Now that the weather is changing, it’s a good time to take up walking or to get back at it if you stopped during the summer. The benefits are well worth it and having a sense of accomplishment is a great way to start, or end, the day.
Tara Randel is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author. Family values, a bit of mystery and of course, love and romance, are her favorite themes, because she believes love is the greatest gift of all. Look for her Harlequin Heartwarming romance, STEALING HER BEST FRIEND’S HEART, available NOW. For more information about her books, visit Tara at www.tararandel.com. Like her on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/TaraRandelBooks. Sign up for Tara’s Newsletter.