3 reasons why you should get out of your house for a wellness walk

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If you’ve been cooped up at home since Phase 2 Heightened Alert started, here’s every reason why you should consider taking a walk this week in the great outdoors.

While the benefits of brisk walking are aplenty, here are three basic health benefits of a casual, simple stroll for a few minutes per day. Nope, no one is asking you to run or break out into a sweaty brisk walk or jog – just a stroll. Now, how does that sound?

1. Prevent diseases

Just 30 minutes of physical activity each day is enough to reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke, type 2 diabetes and osteoporosis, according to guidelines set by the Australian Department of Health.

”Walking is a total-body workout,” says exercise physiologist Jacci Allnson. “Plus, it’s free and doesn’t require any special equipment or skills.”

2. Improve your balance

Walking helps to build lower-body strength, and improve stability. This is very helpful since reduced eyesight and flexibility, certain medications or an inner-ear disorder can all affect your balance once you turn 50.

“When you put one foot in front of the other, you’re spending time in a single-leg standing position – that’s like balancing on one leg, which can strengthen your coordination skills.”

One technique that further increases the benefits involves walking really slowly for a few minutes, taking time to concentrate on lifting your foot with each step.

“The more time you spend transitioning from one foot to the other, the better your balance will be,” Jacci says.

3. Clear brain fog

More than a source of exercise, regular strolls can improve your ability to focus for longer periods of time.

“When you’re stressed, your frontal lobe – the part of the brain responsible for memory and cognition – switches off to your ability to make good decisions dwindles,” Jacci says. “Going for regular walks and taking deep breaths is a terrific way to remove yourself from stressful situations to organise your thoughts.”

This article was first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly.