Walking Your Way to a Healthier, Happier You

I went for a walk around 9pm on March 20th and felt so amazing afterward. After the long, cold winter I realized I hadn’t been for a walk in a long time, even though it is one of my absolute favourite things to do. So with the shift of seasons and the warmer weather upon us, I decided that my April Challenge should be to walk outside for at least 20 minutes every day.

So far this is my favourite challenge because it's the best mix of many of my favourite things like;
Being outdoors, 
Moving my body, 
Feeling inspired, 
And connecting with my community.

I look forward to my daily walk and who might be joining me. With so many of you reaching out to join me for a walk, I may just have to extend this month's challenge into May!

But enough about me...
why should YOU be walking at least 20 minutes every day?

There are a whole lot of benefits of getting outside and moving your body. Here's some of the science from

  1. Improved Mood - Exercise releases endorphins in the body that trigger positive feelings in your body. Even a 20 minute brisk walk will do! 
  2. Increased Energy - Walking increases blood flow and better blood flow increases the body's ability to produce energy.
  3. Lowered Risk Of Heart Disease - Walking for 20 minutes is great, but if you want to reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by up to 20%, try 40 minutes a day. 
  4. Longer Life - Scientist have said that a brisk daily walk of just 20 minutes could add years to your life.  
  5. A Lowered Risk of Diabetes - Walking after each meal is shown to help lower blood sugar levels & reduce your risk for type-2 diabetes. 
  6. Stronger Memory - Those who walk daily have a decreased risk of dementia & a larger hippocampus, which is the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning. 
  7. Weight Loss - A brisk 20-minute walk would burn between 90 and 110 calories.

Walking for 20 Minutes A Day

Ok so you know some of the "why to" now let's talk about the "how to."
We found this image to help explain the best walking posture. Remember that every body is different, so follow the tips here that make you feel your best when walking.

Proper Walking Posture

The ones that really stick out for me (especially as a yoga instructor) are these;

1. Hold your head up straight with your chin parallel to the ground. Think about being in Tadasana (Mountain Pose) and feel your whole body in alignment.

2. I love the tip about keeping your thumbs forward. It's basically the same idea as the tip to keep your shoulders straight & stable. Pointing your thumbs forward will decrease the internal rotation of your shoulders. Keeping your spine more neutral and freeing up space in your belly & rib cage for the belly to move freely with your breath. More breath means more energy to walk longer!

3. Your feet should always be pointing forward. YES! I mention this all the time when I'm teaching. If you're toes are pointing outward (which most people's do) it add compression to the lower back and pelvis. Walking with your toes and knees facing the same direction (forward) also helps to take some pressure off the knees.

4. Let your arms swing casually and naturally. This is an important part of walking. When our arms move we also slightly twist at the waist & sway the hips. These movements massage the internal organs like the diaphragm & lungs to keep them working well. It also helps to lubricate joints and nourish the connective tissue.

Those are just a few of the facts on why and how to walk your way to health. We love hearing how these challenges are changing your life, so please reach out. Keep walking & sharing your walks on Instagram using the hashtag #getoutside and we'll keep doing the same.

Love & gratitude for everyone and everything,
Shelley xo

Shelley from Love My Mat walking with her son, Wallace
Wallace & me enjoying an exploratory walk in our neighbourhood alleys. 

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