If you’ve been following along on my Instagram stories, you’d know that for the past couple of weeks I’ve been challenging myself and all my followers to join me in taking 20,000 steps per day. This challenge has been an amazing way to stay active and keep myself moving during quarantine, rather than getting sucked into binge-watching another Netflix series. The 20k a day challenge is amazing because it really requires commitment and holding yourself accountable to reach a goal. As with every fitness journey, the beginning might be tough, but once you build 20k a day into a habit, each day builds momentum to keep going! Going back to our primal roots: Walking is the easiest and most primal form of exercise people can do, it is our primary form of transportation. Our ancestors have walked across countries and continents and spent hours each day walking to hunt and gather food, yet the majority of people today spend their days sitting, barely getting 5k steps in. Our bodies are uniquely designed and adapted, unlike any other mammal, allowing us to walk on two feet with ease, so let’s take advantage of it!!
On top of walking, I like to integrate other “animal movements” into my daily movement. These movements, including things like bear walks or frog jumps, help build stability, improve mobility, and can be done almost anywhere. In modern times we often neglect primal movements and no longer move as nature intended. Getting 20k steps in a day is something that can be challenging but once you get into the habit of it, you’ll understand and feel how easy it is since it’s what our body is designed for. Benefits of Walking: On top of the fact that walking is just a natural form of aerobic movement improving overall health, some added benefits include:
Improved Immune Function: According to the British Journal of Sports Medicine, adults who regularly participate in aerobic activities are less likely to become sick due to upper respiratory infections.
Improved Cardiovascular Health and Metabolic Rate: Walking increases heart rate which in the long term helps to improve heart function and the body's use of energy.
Improved Brain Function and Mood: One of the biggest benefits I’ve noticed is how much walking every day has improved my mental health. I seriously look forward to being able to go out and just walk, be in nature, and think clearly. I no longer can just sit still for long anymore, I constantly just want to be moving my body and explore the environment around me.
One study even suggests that if you walk like a happy person (upright with arms swinging at your side) you’ll be a happier person!
Nature walks have been found to help reduce stress and anxiety levels Time Management: Walking 20k steps a day is a lot, but the key is not to go into it thinking that each day you’ll get your steps in by going on a 6-hour long walk.
I personally like to break my walks into 5k increments. I just hop up and go whenever I have a few minutes!
You can also just increase your steps by making small changes each day. This can mean parking in a spot farther away from the grocery store entrance or walking around your house while on work calls. Like with everything in health, all your small daily changes added up, lead to results! So, let’s go back to our primal instincts and get walking! Challenge yourself to hit 20k steps a day with me (it’s not like we don’t have enough time nowadays). Getting into this healthy habit now will just lead to so many benefits down the road! https://www.thecut.com/2014/09/nature-walks-as-antidepressants.html?mid=huffpost_lifestyle https://www.primalplay.com/blog/10-benefits-of-animal-moves-workouts