One of the key healthy behaviors we stress to our members is to, well, Stress Less. 🙂
I’d estimate 99% of us would like to either eliminate, lower, or better manage the stressors in our life, or at least how our brain perceives stress and overwhelm.
One of the best ways we know to do this is slow walking.
I’m talking walking so slowly, it feel strange. People may wonder what you’re doing ;). You’ll want to speed up and will need to think intentionally about every movement.
This sounds counterintuitive to fitness. Don’t we want to walk briskly, elevate our heart rate and burn as many calories as possible?
But sometimes, we need to stroll.
You see, slow walking (around 2mph):
- Actually burns more calories than walking 3-4 miles per hour. When you walk slowly, you lose the efficiency of already being in motion towards your next step. This makes your muscles work a little harder with each step. (Source)
- Disclaimer: To lose weight from walking slow, you have to put your body into a calorie deficit by consuming a reduced-calorie diet and include varying intensities of exercise regularly.
But slow walking really isn’t just about the calorie burn.
- It’s lower impact for the joints and the perfect way to recover from higher intensity activity. Remember, results happen when we recover from training.
- The right-foot-left-foot rhythm of slow walking is meditative for the brain. This “walking meditation” can improve your balance, make your legs stronger, adjust your heart rate, boost your mental focus and clarity, and help you battle anxiety, chronic illness, and depression. (Source)
- While other studies have shown that walking anywhere outdoors reduces depression, anxiety, and anger, researchers found that only the experience of walking among trees, termed “forest bathing,” improved people’s deep sleep, vigor and reduced their fatigue during the day. (Source)
Slow walking, meditative walking, or forest bathing…whatever you call it…it’s good for the mind and body.
Can you get 20 minutes of slow walking in this week?
Jess & Team Valeo
I challenged myself to go on a really slow walk during my son’s soccer practice last week. It felt strange at first not to walk fast or run. As I listened to the rhythm of my slow right foot—left foot, I began loving how it felt…I realized it was just what my body and brain needed that night and did more for the health of my physiology than a fast walk or run would have. Which is really the goal of fitness, yes?
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