Let's face it, a global pandemic and wintry weather are hardly great motivation for leaving your front door right now. But, let's look at things another way. There are huge benefits to getting out walking, and leaving home for exercise is recognised as an 'essential' reason to leave home by the government precisely for that reason. Being active is so important for our wellbeing. Here is why:
Walking boosts immunity and resilience
If you are wondering what to do to strengthen your defences against Covid-19 and other viruses - then walking is it! Scotland's Chief Medical officer says, "regular walking is a powerful tonic. It helps to boost our immune system and those of us able to should strive to get the benefit this winter."
Walking boosts your mood
Human beings aren't designed to simply sit around. Walking can gently boost our circulation, and exercise releases endorphins in our systems. This in turn boosts mood and energy, which is why you always feel better afterwards. Time spent outdoors in greenspace is also shown to reduce stress and contact with nature boosts wellbeing too.
"Walking is the best medicine"
Nothing new here. The greek physician Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, famously gave this advice around 2400 years ago! More recent evidence points to a host of long term physical health benefits of regular walking: it significantly reduces your chances of heart disease, stroke, dementia, some cancers, and depression, it can help with arthritic pain, control our weight raise energy levels and reduce fatigue.
Walking connects us to others
Walking gives us a chance to connect with others and fell less lonely. We spoke with Margot who walked regularly during the March lockdown, she said of her daily outings: "Seeing friendly (and now familiar!) faces definitely lifted my spirits. It made me feel less isolated and made me realise that a lot of people were in the same position."
Walk for a brain boost
Walking also behaves like medicine to the brain. Regular exercise reduces risk of depression and anxiety and improves our thinking skills. A brief bout of exercise can help if you need to stay focused on a task, help creativity or solve problems more efficiently. So if you are working at home, taking some time out for a short walk may pay you a dividend in productivity.
For children, being active improves their concentration and learning too - both things essential to another day gathered round the kitchen table for the school of mum and dad.
If all this isn't worth pulling your coat on for, we don't know what is!