Going to the gym and lifting weights is one way to get fit and build muscle, but it's not the only way. With this 10-minute walking workout, you can boost your wellbeing, improve your fitness, and increase your metabolism.
It's worth investing in a pair of the best shoes for walking (opens in new tab) if heading out for a stroll is a regular part of your day, but they're not essential for this routine. You don't need any equipment to start, so you just pick a moment when the weather's clear and you have a few spare minutes.
Dora Kamau, a meditation teacher at Headspace (opens in new tab), guides you through the short session and says it is "best suited for the great outdoors". But you can also use it at home, in the office, at a train station, or wherever you have some time and space to move around.
You don't need a destination in mind either, as the aim is to use this time to connect with your body and return to the present moment. It's a lot like learning how to meditate (opens in new tab), but you won't have to sit still with your eyes closed to get the benefits. This practice is often known by a different name; mindful walking.
It's important to find a comfortable pace, so there's no need to speed through your walk or take it overly slowly. You'll start standing upright and still, then take a moment to notice how your body feels before Dora takes you through the rest of the routine.
Watch Headspace's 10-minute walking workout
This walking style is distinct from most as the focus is on appreciating your surroundings and developing a connection between your mind and body, rather than exercising for exercising's sake. Of course, you'll still be moving around, so you'll get all the benefits of walking (opens in new tab) like improved metabolism and healthier bones.
If you're worried that reducing the pace of your walk would affect this, a study published in the journal Nutrients (opens in new tab) actually found that walking slower helped people burn fat and lose weight sustainability. It's worth noting that the goal of this routine isn't to drop pounds, but walking can be a great way to add low-impact physical activity to your day.
This short Headspace session aims to help you focus on the present moment, which is one of the critical benefits of mindful walking (opens in new tab). When you're taking a walk, it's really common for your mind to be lost in thought; perhaps you're thinking about your to-do list or worried about a situation at home or work.
It's natural to think about these things, but it's easy to get distracted by them, leading you to become anxious about the future or worry about the past. Mindful walking helps us notice when we're caught up in thought and allows us to refocus on what's happening around us, building mental strength or resilience.
This is why walking and meditation are two of the most effective self-care ideas (opens in new tab) you can do without breaking the bank. Another way to calm your mind is to write a journal as an outlet for your thoughts and feelings. When we tried daily journaling for a year (opens in new tab), we found that all you needed was 10 minutes a day to improve your wellbeing.
James is a London-based journalist and Staff Writer at Fit&Well. He has over five years experience in fitness tech, including time spent as the Buyer’s Guide Editor and Staff Writer at technology publication MakeUseOf. In 2014 he was diagnosed with a chronic health condition, which spurred his interest in health, fitness, and lifestyle management.
In the years since, he has become a devoted meditator, experimented with workout styles and exercises, and used various gadgets to monitor his health. In recent times, James has been absorbed by the intersection between mental health, fitness, sustainability, and environmentalism. When not concerning himself with health and technology, James can be found excitedly checking out each week’s New Music Friday releases.
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