Most of us know that they are many Health Benefits of Walking. Did you know that there are even more benefits of walking with others.
Walking by yourself, or walking with others is great for you both physically and mentally.
Years ago, our family met at a camping area for a picnic. My Mom and I took a walk together. She is high energy and her idea of walking was at a speed walking pace. My idea of walking is at a leisurely pace. That was an entertaining walk to say the least, and it is something we both remember. It’s twenty years later and I still walk at a slower pace than my Mom. Truly, she is a high energy gal.
Are you a speed walker or a leisure walker?
Either way, walking is a great exercise. Some people just happen to like to walk fast, while others like to walk slowly. Although walking slowly doesn’t burn many calories, it is still a form of exercise and it is still good for you.
Many people really enjoy walking and for good reasons. Not only is it fun and relaxing, but it is a good way to burn calories and get your heart pumping.
Even better, you don’t have to walk alone… unless, of course, you want to. There are times that walking by yourself is very beneficial. We all need a little quiet now and then.
Did you know that walking with a friend or family member has some additional health benefits?
Walking with Family Members makes Wonderful Memories
Some of my favorite memories with my children involve walks – walking to find the perfect Christmas tree (and cutting it down). Or together along creek beds, or in the creeks, or hiking on trails. Finding little mementos or interesting things along the way.
These days, my husband and I take a walk every single day (unless it is pouring down rain). It’s really the dog’s walk, but we do go along to keep him company. It’s a great time for us to enjoy God’s beautiful creation and have some great conversation. We also see interesting things along the way (cloud formations, gopher turtles, birds, even an owl, etc.). These walks create pleasant memories for us also.
The Benefits of Walking with Others
Walking with family members or friends is a great way of getting in some physical activity while spending time with your others. It can also be a great way of fitting a little exercise into the middle of your day. You can walk outside with fellow co-workers during a lunchtime or break time.
Here are just a few reasons why walking with friends is so good for you:
They Keep You Going
When you walk with a friend or two, as opposed to by yourself, you are much more likely to make it part of your daily routine.
Afterall, you may find it very easy to cancel your walk (for just any reason at all) when you are the only one going. No one else knows or cares if you don’t take that walk by yourself. But, if you don’t take a planned walk, chances are you may end up being disappointed in yourself.
When friends are also involved in your walking plans, they will help you stay motivated. They will provide encouragement and you will look forward to spending the time with them.
Walking with Others keeps you Motivated
A few years ago, when our family met at a mountain hiking area, several of us headed up one of the mountain trails. We’d hiked it before, but it had been several years since our last hike there.
It wasn’t an easy trek. But, so many of us went – including my older brother, nephews, and my children (they were already grown). We kept each other motivated until we finally made it to the top.
Here’s the most interesting thing… There were times on that hike when each of us wanted to simply stop and go back. But, we never reached that “let’s stop” point at the same time. Thus, when one wanted to stop, the others wanted to keep going. This helped us all reach the top of that mountain. It was so worthwhile and a great memory for all of us.
Walking with Others Helps you Reach your Goals
When you walk with your friends and/or family they are going to be a huge encouragement when you decide to set a fitness goal.
They will boost your spirits when you are trying to walk toward some specific goal. You may want to set a goal of:
- Walking 5,000 steps a day (that would be over 2 miles),
- Perhaps you’d like to walk for 45 minutes a day
- Your goal may be to walk 50 miles a month
Or, perhaps you would like to lose some weight. Your friends and family will be an inspiration to you. Not only will they help keep you motivated, but they’ll also alongside you as you reach your goals.
Walking with Others is Enjoyable
Have you ever walked around a track, you know, like the ones at a school? Round and round and round you go. I’ve done it. You can do this and set little mini-challenges for yourself (one time around in so many minutes and then try to walk faster, etc.). You can also listen to music or podcasts, etc. while you walk. This will help you pass the time.
If you enjoy some quiet time, then an opportunity to walk alone can be a wonderful and uplifting experience.
For many people, walking alone can be boring and too lonely. Extroverts generally do not like walking alone, and sometimes even introverts find walking alone a bit too lonely. Oftentimes, walking alone can become a tedious task that they don’t look forward to.
Walking with Others is Fun
When we walk with other people we have the opportunity for new conversations each time you walk. This helps to keep the walks fun and interesting.
When you chat, laugh and have a good time while you walk, you’ll often feel much better once you’re back home. You also don’t even notice how long you were walking. The conversation helps you pass the time.
Walking with Others Builds Relationships
When you walk with friends, family or new acquaintances you have the opportunity to build stronger relationships.
In our neighborhood, I often see people joining a new neighbor for a walk. It’s a great way to make a new friend and makes them feel welcomed to the neighborhood.
It is well known that relationships take effort and time. Walking and talking with someone is a great way of strengthening a relationship. It’s an opportunity for quality time with a family member or friend.
Just spending the time together and sharing the beauty of nature along the way can strengthen a relationship.
Walking with Others is Educational
Conversations can go many different directions. Your friends may have something interesting to contribute to the conversation every time you walk. It’s an opportunity to share whatever may come to your mind. Sometimes, you may learn about something new, for example:
- Different walking or hiking routes
- On-the-go healthy snack ideas
- Yummy dinner in the crockpot recipe
- A great sale going on in a store nearby
- Someone new has moved to the neighborhood
Walking with Others Makes You Feel Better
When we walk with others and interact with your friends this can help soothe depression or anxiety. Walking (exercise in general) is a therapeutic experience. Can you think of a time when you were feeling down and a friend called you on the phone.? Oftentimes, just talking with someone when we’re feeling sad helps us to feel a bit better.
The actual walking itself also helps us feel better. When we exercise our body releases endorphins. These endorphins cause feelings of happiness.
When you walk with others you benefit from these endorphins and from the positive conversation and interaction. This combination can boost your emotions, confidence, mood and self-esteem.
When you Walk with Others You Experience Quality Time
Going on walks with your friends and family strengthens the bond you have with each other. This is one of the best benefits of walking with others. We live busy lives. It is often hard to be as involved in each other’s lives as we want to be.
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Monday turns into Tuesday, and Tuesday turns into Wednesday and before we know it, the week is gone. And then the month. We are distracted by work, school, social media and so much more. Oftentimes we simply don’t spend the time with each person that we really want to. Regularly taking walks together can provide some quality time.
Walking together is a great way to focus on just one other person
My daughter and I often take walks when we get together. We live several states apart, so this doesn’t happen as often as we would like. We both enjoy walking, so we try to fit one in each visit. The walks give us time to focus on each other instead of all of the other distractions that are around us.
When you are walking with others it provides a chance to freely communicate with one person without distractions. It’s a great way to catch up with what’s going on in someone’s life.
Goal – Walk for 20 to 30 minutes regularly
Walks with friends don’t have to be long and time-consuming. Walking for 20 to 30 minutes, three or four times a week, will be very beneficial.
Walking for just 60 to 90 minutes a week is healthy for your mind and your body. Just think of all the health benefits you can get from walking with others for just 1 – 2 hours a week.
Benefits of Walking with Children
It’s great if you can get your children involved in walking at an early age. If you do, they’ll be likely to continue a walking habit in their daily routine as they get older.
Plus, it’s such a great way to build memories that both of you will always treasure. I use to walk with my children when they were young as I mentioned earlier.
Now my husband and I love to take walks with our grandchildren. It’s so fun to experience nature through their eyes. And, having a conversation with a 2 year old or 4 year old is absolutely awesome!
When you can’t Walk Outside
I understand that sometimes walking outside is simply not an option. It may be cold, wet, too hot, or…well, there are a myriad of other reasons.
Even in those situations you can still walk, either by yourself or with others. Here are several options:
- Walk inside a nearby shopping mall (many are fairly large, so you will definitely get to cover some distance in 30 minutes). There should be a lot of activity along the way, so you won’t get bored or run out of things to talk about.
- Many gyms have inside tracks that you can walk on.
- There are dvds available for walking inside. This is a dvd set that my friends and I have enjoyed. You can invite someone to “walk” with you. It will help you pass the time and not feel so silly about walking in place. It’s very enjoyable.
- You can get an elliptical machine for your home. I have had a NordicTrack CX 985 for years and have really enjoyed it. I don’t think that they sell it anymore, but here’s a similar one. An extra bonus is that elliptical machines are a bit easier on your joints.
You can “walk” on an elliptical at home and still spend time with your family. It’s not quite the same as taking a walk outside with them, but you can take turns on the elliptical, and make a game or challenge of it.
Start today – Reap the Benefits of walking with others
There is no better time to start than now. Go ahead and plan your first walk.
Step 1: Plan – Where could you begin walking today?
Step 2: Text/Call – Who could you invite to walk with you?
Step 3: Walk!
Start slow and don’t make it too long of a walk. It could lead to some great times and great memories.
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