We want to strengthen your heart, improve your mood, fuel your creativity and foster real connections with others. Walking can do all of that and more. All you need to do is lace up your sneakers and get out the door.
Here at 99 Walks, we count walks, not steps.
What’s a “walk?”
A walk is when you take some measure of time -- be it fifteen minutes or fifty minutes -- to step away from your computer, work, laundry, dishes and social media. Sure, you can take company … a dog, a friend or a stroller. You can walk on a trail, a sidewalk or around the mall. What matters is the intention. “I am going to go for a walk.”
Why does this matter?
Because taking an intentional walk delivers benefits far beyond those achieved simply by adding more steps to your day.
The Physical Benefits
Taking an intentional walk at a brisk pace gives you the opportunity to raise your heart rate for a period of time which is essential to improving your cardiovascular health and reducing high blood pressure, high cholesterol and your risk of diabetes. Walking 30 minutes a day, at least three times a week, has been shown to reduce your risk of dementia and increase the size of your brain’s hippocampus -- it can literally make your brain bigger. Walking regularly can reduce your risk of breast cancer, help ward off osteoporosis and add years to your life.
Seriously, the benefits of a regular walking practice are incredible.
The Mental Benefits
Taking an intentional walk also delivers a myriad of benefits for your mind and your mood. It gives you the chance to lose yourself in thought or music or conversation and gives your brain the opportunity to rest and recharge. There is compelling evidence that it reduces depression, improves concentration and fuels creativity.
Conversations had while walking have a uniquely intimate texture as they flow from topic to topic -- conversations that forge the kind of meaningful connections that we, as human beings, crave. It’s the reason why moms who regularly walk together are less likely to be lonely.
Yup, Adding Steps to Your Day is Good, But Intentional Walks Are Better
Yes, striving to increase your overall level of activity by increasing your daily step count is awesome. Park at the far side of the parking lot. Take the stairs rather than the escalator. Get off the bus two stops early. All of these decisions can contribute to your overall wellness. But most of the things that you will do to add to your daily step count are done while you are doing other things. Having parked at the far end of the grocery store parking lot, you will undoubtedly cross that parking lot thinking about your shopping list or calculating just long you have to complete that errand before you have to pick Timmy up from preschool.
Striving to add more steps to your day is a laudable goal, but at 99 Walks we know that taking intentional walks delivers so much more. So yup, get those steps in. But also take some time for yourself to walk, be in nature, be with friends, raise your heart rate, clear your mind, build your brain, fuel your creativity, beat back depression, ward off dementia and find some peace.