Walking and moving more outdoors can be a winning strategy for you and your family to support your mental, emotional, and physical health needs, while following social distancing guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Walking is a free, convenient, and fun activity for all age and ability levels. Taking a walk before, during, or after work or school can help you explore nature, stretch your legs, and refocus your energies.
Benefits of walking during COVID-19 pandemic:
- Walking boosts the immune system: Research shows that regular, moderate-intensity exercise, along with fresh air and sunshine, may help your body fight off infections, including COVID-19.
- Walking may prevent weight gain: Obesity has been identified as a risk factor for COVID-19. Taking a brisk walk can help you burn extra calories and promote weight loss.
- Walking reduces stress and anxiety: Walking releases feel-good chemicals that help to boost mood and reduce depression and anxiety.
- Walking improves sleep quality: Studies show exercise helps you fall asleep faster, improves sleep quality, boosts immunity, and helps with weight management.
- Walking strengthens our bones, lungs, and heart: Walking regularly can also help manage conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, which studies have identified as risk factors for higher death rates in persons infected with COVID-19 virus.
The American Heart Association recommends all adults should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity, per week.
Fun fact: Did you know that 30 minutes of grocery shopping every other week for a year is like walking a marathon? Can you guess how far dancing for an hour every week for a year will get you? See the answer here, along with some other fun facts regarding everyday activities.
If you have a chronic medical condition, you should check with your doctor before starting a new home exercise program. Your doctor may be able to recommend exercises that are safe for you and explain what types of exercises you should avoid.