Brisk walking: What the benefits are and how to get started!

Walking is one of our favourite forms of exercise as a country, and it is hugely underrated when it comes to how beneficial it is for your health.

Brisk walking is faster than a stroll – more like the walk you do when you’re running late for an appointment but not so late that you’ll actually break out in a run. It’s when you can carry out a conversation, but you’re too out of breath to sing.

What are the health benefits of brisk walking?

Brisk walking promises a variety of health benefits, no matter your age or fitness levels, even if you’ve been inactive for a while - it’s a very inclusive sport. If you can maintain a brisk walk for a minimum of 10 minutes, you’ll reap the rewards of this simple form of exercise.

Here are the key benefits of brisk walking according to the Ministry of Health:

  • bone strength (and a decreased risk of osteoporosis)
  • improved circulation
  • healthier heart rate
  • better muscle strength
  • improved balance
  • reduced risk of illnesses such as heart disease and certain cancers
  • burning calories, which can help you to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight

The best part is, brisk walking is essentially free. You don’t need any special equipment or gym memberships, and you don’t need to travel across the city to take a few steps. Simply pull on your sneakers and comfy clothes and step outside your front door.

It’s the kind of low-risk, high-reward activity we can definitely get behind.

Mental health benefits

But the benefits don’t end with just the physical aspect, there’s also mental health benefits that come hand-in-hand with regular exercise.

One of the major benefits is that exercise can reduce your stress levels, according to the Ministry of Health. As long-term, sustained stress can damage your health and wellbeing in a number of ways, it’s important to take steps – quite literally – to keep your stress levels to a minimum.

Similarly, exercise can help to boost your self-esteem. Especially when you can make your way to a tree-lined street or leafy local park, those green spaces have been found to improve self-esteem and overall mental wellbeing.

You might have heard before that a little exercise can quickly improve your mood, even just 20 minutes of exercise can boost your frame of mind for up to 12 hours.

Grab your sneakers and get started

Getting started is usually the hardest part, but there are several tips you can try to work your way towards a healthy brisk walking habit.

To get yourself started, forget the brisk part, and just walk. You can amble, plod, or stroll. So long as you’re out putting one foot in front of the other, you’re going a lot faster than you would if you were sitting on the couch. This will help to improve your strength and fitness over time so you can work your way up to ‘brisk’.

You can also incorporate walking into your daily errands, adding in those extra steps where you might usually take a car or other transport. Try getting off the bus one stop earlier than usual, taking the stairs, or walking to your local cafe for a morning coffee.

Be sure to throw on some of your favourite music with a fast beat to help you get into the rhythm, and rope in a friend as a walking buddy to hold each other accountable.

Brisk walking: A fountain of benefits

Perhaps we’re still on the hunt for the fountain of youth, but brisk walking is undoubtedly a fountain of benefits.

It’s something easy you can do to look after your health, just like taking out a life insurance policy is something you can do to help look after your loved ones when they need it the most.

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