There are times when I feel really pleased with myself. This week was one of those when I managed to smash my 10,000 steps target every day but went above and beyond 4 of those days hitting on average 13,000 steps!
Walking has changed my life and I know it can change yours too. Walking is one of the best things you can do to achieve the weight you want, maintain your weight, go from aches and pains to feeling great, helping with stress or anxiety, keep you toned, keep your brain active and many many more wonderful things. For me, walking beats any form of exercise I have tried – especially the gym and working out in front of the TV!
Sunday walks are more about soaking up the sun, looking at nature and generally taking the time to look at the beauty all around.
I started on my walking journey probably about four months ago. I had got to the point where I hated myself, hated that I had got to the size I was, hated that every time I got off my ass my body was crying out in aches and pains, hated that I was letting myself go, hated that I knew deep down that if I didn’t do something now I would regret it later in life.
I really needed something that I could stick to, something that would keep me doing it and something that I could fit in to my daily routine without having to get home, get changed and then do the “thing” that I had to do. After much research and chatting to my husband I decided walking was the answer.
There is so much medical research to show that walking briskly even for 20 minutes a day will help you lose weight. There are also studies to prove how beneficial it is for your brain, your heart and to help you live a long life. In fact it seemed to me that since there is so much positive research to show how effective walking is why isn’t everyone not doing it? This is one of the reasons I started this blog. I am so thrilled to have found a free and easy way to benefit your health that I wanted to share my journey with you all and convince you to come walking with me!
Give the obesity problems many individuals face and the health issues I can’t believe that walking isn’t recommended by more doctors. Although I did find out that a few doctors in the UK have started recommending walking for their diabetic patients. They have had positive results with some coming off their medication!
How Walking Has Helped me Lose Weight
I am still on my weight loss journey but walking has given me the kick start I needed. I have gone from obese to overweight. I can remember looking at those figures that told me I was obese. For me it was having a negative impact because when I did get up after sitting for any length of time my hips and legs would ache. I can remember that at one point I thought I would fall over because the pain in my hips, legs and ankles was so severe.
I’m very lucky to live near a beach. Walking really is great.
I want to say that it was my decision to lose weight. If you don’t want or need to lose weight walking is still great for you. You just have to read my blog post on the benefits of walking to find out how much it can do for you. Inevitably, walking is an exercise that I want everyone to take up as it makes me feel so good. I truly believe that if you start walking you will fall in love with it and just walk.
Did I mention that it’s free and you don’t need a lot of equipment to do it? Have I also mentioned that walking doesn’t just help you lose weight but it can keep you sane too! Walking has been proven to help people with depression, stress and anxiety. I love my work but there are so days that can be stressful and very frustrating. Walking allows me to have time to myself to get rid of the stress of the day.
My day starts with using the train to get in to Belfast. The bus stop is just across the road from the station but as I like to try and get my steps in, I walk to the bus stop round the corner. When I get off the bus, it is about a 10 minute walk to work. I often nip out at lunch time for a brisk 20 minute walk. On the way home, I walk to the train station which takes me about 40 minutes. I can remember to the first time I did this. I was terrified because I wasn’t sure my body would be ready for such a walk. It was hard for the first week but my body got used to this walk in no time at all.
I would often hit my 10,000 steps about 10 minutes in to the walk home if I went out during my lunch. It’s not always possible to do this if I am in meetings but I still manage to get my 10,000 steps. If you have a desk job like me and need some tips to get your 10,000 steps then head over to this post to read my tips.
Even the signs are encouraging us to walk. Although I’m not so sure about the 70’s style disco suit – buy hey as long as you walk who cares what you wear!
How Walking is Helping me Tone my Thighs, Bum, Waist & Tummy
After walking for about four weeks I also noticed my body changing for the better. While I don’t stand on the scales as much now I notice that my jeans are getting lose, I can pull my belt in more and I am slowly but surely going down in clothes sizes.
I have also noticed that my thighs are changing shape, they are a lot more toned. My bottom is also changing shape and my tummy is leaner. The more I walk the better my muscle tone seems to get. It’s not just me that this has happened to, my others who take up walking have noticed they are also toning their bodies. I also started to walk faster, include inclines in my walk and to use my arms more. If you want some help in toning your body head over to my post on how walking tones your body to read more.
Something about walking gives me a whole new perspective on life. Maybe it’s the fresh air or maybe its the act of walking allowing me time to myself and giving me the space to calm down after work. I also love walking in my local area and ending up by the sea front. Fresh sea air always makes me feel good and also relaxes me. Sometimes I head out for a walk and don’t have a particular route. These can often be the best ones. Just look at the cows below, I came across these guys not long ago. All they wanted to do was chat! You never know where you will end up but you will notice how beautiful your local area is.
How Walking Helps Me Sleep Soundly
As well as being obese, I often had restless nights. I just couldn’t get comfortable. I believe it was all to do with my weight and the fact I had such a bad lower back. The lower back caused me no end of trouble and my weight was not helping at all.
Of course there are other reasons for restless nights but for me it really was down to not being able to get comfortable and turning every 30 minutes. Honestly there were days when I felt like a zombie just going through the motions.
I tried all sorts of things from changing my pillow, sleep aids, and even knee pillows. Nothing seemed to work. There were days where I was exhausted but just couldn’t sleep either. It wasn’t until I started walking that I started to sleep more soundly. I’m not sure if it was the exercise of walking or the fresh air or both but it really made a difference to my sleeping.
Since losing weight I continue to sleep with no problems at all. There are other reasons why I believe that walking will help you have a better night’s sleep. You aren’t engrossed in your phone – this has impact on your brain, it also can be stressful. I think walking helps rest my brain, allows me to deal with any stress that I’m facing in a productive way. I have also talked about the fresh air. This made me feel better too, my body was craving fresh air.
Just one of the views on my walks. This beach never ceases to make me feel good with the wind in my hair, the smell of fresh air and the sound of the water.
Walking really does open the door to nature! All you have to do is walk outside and see what’s all around you. With my weight loss and toning of my body, my mood has also improved too. I believe that walking is the perfect activity.
How Walking has given me mental clarity, calm my emotions & help stress
There are times of the month when my body seems to be out of balance and my emotions are all over the place. I think it has to do with hormones imbalances. I have to say that walking has really helped me focus. It also seems to fix any mood that I may be as I go out that door. Whether its the act of exercise or fresh air but it does work for me.
Walking also helps with stress. Having a full time job and blogging can be stressful so heading out for a walk is just what the doctor ordered. In fact I would say walking also helps me with my creativity. Just look at some of the photos in this post, all were taken as I went out walking today. I love it!
How Walking is Good for my Body
My body just says no to running! I did try it and it caused no end of havoc to my back. Also when you are obese running just doesn’t seem to work as all the wobbly bits just jangle about and make for even more rubbing and soreness! Walking on the other hand isn’t as jarring on my joints or back. I get even more out of walking briskly for 40 minutes as I would running. Although I really could not run for 40 minutes anyway!
At least I know that walking gives me just as much benefit as running would, is as good for my heart, brain, toning, weight loss and health so why would I want to run?
How Walking is Fun!
I have mentioned once or twice how much I hate exercise, well not walking. Walking is fun. It has given me so much joy. Being able to move without feeling sore, being able to lose weight, tony my body, feel good – walking for me is a gift and a joy. I always look forward to my walks and fitting them in whenever I can. Walking is an exercise that I want to do and will continue to do.
I hope this has inspired you to get your walking shoes on and start walking. Enjoy. x