When we exercise, it’s a stress on the body. A good stress (i.e. eustress), but a stress nonetheless.
However there’s one form of exercise that has actually been shown to reduce stress and lower cortisol (the “stress hormone”). This exercise gives you both benefits of burning a small amount of calories, while reducing stress, reducing risk of cardiovascular disease, and improving your mood. I actually just got back from doing this right now. Do you know what it is?
Simple walking has been shown to be the only form of exercise that can actually reduce stress and lower cortisol levels in your body. Plus you get the added bonus of burning a few calories and improving your cardiovascular system.
Watch this episode of Rebuild Your Body where I’ll show you even more benefits walking can have on your health:
Walking is also great for recovery between your regular strength training workouts because it gets blood circulating through your muscles, helping to speed the rebuilding process. This is why I’ll typically recommend clients to get 10-30 minutes of walking in everyday, especially if they’re just starting to exercise.
This is also a great place to start if you’re someone who struggles to make exercise a habit. Starting with something small like 10 minutes of walking everyday can be a great foundation to build off of.
The general recommendation is to get 10,000 steps/day but most people would be shocked how little they actually move throughout the day. With the rise of wearable tech like Apple Watches and FitBit, it’s never been easier to track your movement. Most phones even have a “Health” app now that can also track your steps, as long as you have your phone on you while walking.
If you’ve never tracked your steps before turn that app on for a couple of days. Keep your phone with you and check at the end of the day to see how many steps you took. I bet you’ll be surprised at the number. I think of myself as pretty active person, but there are still days I barely crack 3000 steps if I don’t make a point of walking more.
If you’re just starting to exercise, simply increasing your steps from 3000 to 6000 everyday would be a huge win and something to gradually increase over time.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind to get started:
1. If you can’t get a full 30 minutes all at once, break it up into 10 minute chunks throughout the day
2. Set yourself up for success by starting small and building up to longer walks
3. Keep your walks enjoyable by varying the scenery or routes you take
4. Walk with a friend and hold each other accountable
5. Schedule it into your day. If it’s in your calendar it’s more likely to get done
Walking is one of the most basic, functional movements we have as humans and it’s important to keep that ability strong, even aside from all of the other benefits.
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