By Rachel Bradshaw
Walking is one of the best ways to stay physically active. You can walk almost anywhere and at any time – and it’s also inexpensive! This year, COVID-19 has left many people feeling isolated and stressed. A simple exercise to get moving is an excellent way to combat these difficult feelings.
Check out these other great benefits of walking:
• Helps control or reduce body weight by burning calories and strengthening muscles.
• Boosts your brain power by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain.
• Helps you sleep better.
• Helps you deal with stress by boosting calming hormones. This helps you relax and lifts your spirits.
• Improves your heart fitness by improving your circulation and by making your heart stronger. This reduces your chances of heart disease and stroke.
Having trouble sticking with exercise? Choose a convenient activity that you enjoy – begin gradually to avoid injury and burnout. Chart your progress and reward yourself for the goals you reach. Adding music and exercising with a friend are also great ways to stay motivated.
Remember to always stay safe when walking near a roadway. Although pedestrians have the right-of-way at intersections and marked crosswalks, it’s important to check for “stop” signals or approaching vehicles. It is also important never to walk alone. If alone, tell someone where you are walking and an approximate time of your return.
Questions about managing stress, finances, or nutrition during these challenging times? Contact UT Extension’s Family & Consumer Science Agent, Rachel Bradshaw, at [email protected] Program announcements and timely resources can also be found on the local UT Extension Facebook page at facebook.com/unicoiextension.