The benefits of morning walks (and recommended motivational podcasts)

The benefits of morning walks (and recommended motivational podcasts)

Hi All. I hope that you have all had a good week. How did you find my blog post from last week? Did you take on board any of the advice about promoting others? Did you find it helped? Let me know as it would be good to know. Plus if you want any more advice around that area please let me know.

This week I will be looking at morning motivations and podcasts. For those of you who have been following my weekly wellness blogs, you will know that a few weeks ago I had a bit of a kitchen accident. At the beginning of the recovery process, it gave me time to reflect.

Unable to drive at the time, it gave me more time to walk to get the places to do things I needed to do. On my walks I have put on some earphones and listened to some podcasts on Spotify.

Now I don’t work for Spotify and neither do I gain revenue from mentioning their product, but I use Spotify, and they have a great selection of not only music, but podcasts as well. In listening to podcasts, I have come across Elliott Hulse and Phil Graham. They are both very successful fitness coaches who have made a living from improving the lives of others through fitness coaching and motivation seminars. Even if your background is not in fitness, it may be a good to listen to these podcasts, as they give some inspirational and motivational ideas on how to approach life in a more positive and proactive way.

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The benefits of morning walks

Can you really walk your way to fitness? You bet! Get started today.

Physical activity doesn’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.

For example, regular brisk walking can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mood
  • Improve your balance and coordination

The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.

Consider your technique

Turning your normal walk into a fitness stride requires good posture and purposeful movements. Ideally, here’s how you’ll look when you’re walking:

  • Your head is up. You’re looking forward, not at the ground.
  • Your neck, shoulders and back are relaxed, not stiffly upright.
  • You’re swinging your arms freely with a slight bend in your elbows. A little pumping with your arms is OK.
  • Your stomach muscles are slightly tightened and your back is straight, not arched forward or backward.
  • You’re walking smoothly, rolling your foot from heel to toe.

Plan your routine

As you start your walking routine, remember to:

  • Get the right gear. Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock. Wear comfortable clothes and gear appropriate for various types of weather. If you walk outdoors when it’s dark, wear bright colors or reflective tape for visibility.
  • Choose your course carefully. If you’ll be walking outdoors, avoid paths with cracked sidewalks, potholes, low-hanging limbs or uneven turf. If the weather isn’t appropriate for walking, consider walking in a shopping mall that offers open times for walkers.
  • Warm up. Walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles and prepare your body for exercise.
  • Cool down. At the end of your walk, walk slowly for five to 10 minutes to help your muscles cool down.
  • Stretch. After you cool down, gently stretch your muscles. If you’d rather stretch before you walk, remember to warm up first.

Set realistic goals

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. Also aim to do strength training exercises of all major muscle groups at least two times a week.

As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you can’t set aside that much time, try several short sessions of activity throughout the day. Any amount of activity is better than none at all. Even small amounts of physical activity are helpful, and accumulated activity throughout the day adds up to provide health benefit.

Remember it’s OK to start slowly — especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly. You might start with five minutes a day the first week, and then increase your time by five minutes each week until you reach at least 30 minutes.

For even more health benefits, aim for at least 60 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.

Track your progress and stay motivated 

Keeping a record of how many steps you take, the distance you walk and how long it takes can help you see where you started from and serve as a source of inspiration. Just think how good you’ll feel when you see how many miles you’ve walked each week, month or year.

Record these numbers in a walking journal or log them in a spreadsheet or a physical activity app. Another option is to use an electronic device such as a pedometer or fitness tracker to calculate steps and distance.

Starting a walking program also takes initiative. Sticking with it takes commitment. It doesn’t just have to be a morning walk. Fit in walks whenever you can. To stay motivated:

  • Set yourself up for success. Start with a simple goal, such as, “I’ll take a 5- or 10-minute walk during my lunch break.” When your 5- or 10-minute walk becomes a habit, set a new goal, such as, “I’ll walk for 20 minutes after work.”
  • Find specific times for walks. Soon you could be reaching for goals that once seemed impossible.
  • Make walking enjoyable. If you don’t like walking alone, ask a friend or neighbor to join you. If you’re energized by groups, join a health club or walking group. You might like listening to music while you walk.
  • Vary your routine. If you walk outdoors, plan several different routes for variety. If you’re walking alone, tell someone which route you’re taking. Walk in safe, well-lit locations.
  • Take missed days in stride. If you find yourself skipping your daily walks, don’t give up. Remind yourself how good you feel when you include physical activity in your daily routine, and then get back on track.

Once you take that first step, you’re on the way to an important destination — better health.

Recommended podcasts

As mentioned above, I have made mention to some podcasts which I have been listening to, such as that of Elliott Hulse and Phil Graham, but there are many more out there.

For a taste of the Elliott Hulse podcast, becoming the strongest version of yourself is a great place to start.

For a taste of the Phil Graham podcast, The Fitness Entrepreneur Podcast is a great place to start.

Having positive reinforcement and affirmation is a way toward making you feel more motivated and it also helps to strengthen your mental wellbeing, which is important in this day and age when we work in jobs that are very demanding not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well.

Have a search on Spotify, or iTunes, or whichever audio streaming service you are listening, and type in on the search box for podcasts. In the meantime however, here are a few that may be of interest to you:

https://blog.mindvalley.com/self-improvement-podcasts/

I have included the link for MindValley, which is a great place to find content to help you grow positively in terms of your mental and physical wellness. ‘School of Greatness with Lewis Howes’ and the ‘Tony Robbins Podcast’ are worth checking out.

Another is:

Check out ‘The Science of Happiness’ if you like science and looking at personal growth. I also made mention of ‘The Science of….’ podcast in my blog ‘It is ok to ask if you need a bit of help‘ (https://wordpress.com/post/fitfornearly40.wordpress.com/169).

And another is: 

Check out ‘The Lively Show with Jess Lively’ and ‘Happier with Gretchen Rubin’ if you want a bit of sunshine on your mind.

In summary, there are many benefits which can be had from simply walking, and the benefits of incorporating this with listening to motivational podcasts can also help you to feel more motivated, driven and determined. The mind is a powerful organic super machine. You exercise and you reward your body – don’t forget to also exercise and reward your brain. It is the greatest and most powerful and important organic super machine you will ever own. 

I hope you have found the blog of some help. Next week I shall be looking at setting future goals.Remember: it’s a journey. It will take time. Have patience in the process. You will get there. Until then, stay happy, stay healthy, and have a lovely weekend wherever you are on the planet.

A bit about the author:I am a guy who is (nearly) 40, who is sharing a journey of weight management and wellbeing.I am also a mental health professional with a wealth of years of experience in supporting individuals who have challenging mental illnesses and personality disorders. Prior to my current professional role, I spent several years supporting members of the community as a fitness professional, assisting individuals with weight loss and health improvement programmes.I completed a PGDip in Mental Health Nursing in 2013, and an MSc in Advanced Practice in 2016 in which I looked at improving nurses’ level of engagement with patients with challenging personality disorders. In 2018 I successfully undertook a Clinical reasoning in Physical Assessments course with the view to start studying toward becoming an Advanced Nurse Practitioner in late 2019.In 2015 I also undertook a Mentorship for practice (BSc Hons) course and have been supporting future nurses with their training and development. I have also recently supported a Healthcare Assistant Staff toward training in and successfully passing and achieving a Foundation Degree in Mental Health Nursing.In my current role I am a person looking to support the physical and mental health and wellbeing of the individual. As part of my role within the health services in supporting individuals with mental health care needs, I am also currently looking to develop myself as a Wellness Coach, to support the individual with weekly wellness blogs, with the view to support individuals on a 1:1 basis as well as holding motivational lectures and seminars. 

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