women's health

The Five Ws of Women Walking, Part I

The Five Ws (who, what, when, where, why) are frequently used as a formula for information gathering, problem solving, or getting the complete story on a topic. In this 3-part blog series, I’ll be sharing the five Ws of women walking, but I’m beginning at the end: WHY. I’m starting with WHY because, as you’ll see, it’s the logical place to start and because WHY very neatly encompasses WHEN and WHERE when it comes to women walking.

So, WHY walk? A great question with a wonderfully layered answer.

First, because walking quite elegantly solves the problem that most of us women have with getting a daily workout: we want to workout but we don’t have the time.

(DYK 80% of women aren’t getting enough exercise for optimal health?)

Instead of trying to squeeze a yoga class or gym visit into your already overwhelmingly busy schedule, you can walk WHEN and WHERE you already are: over your lunch break at work, when you’re waiting for your kids at their piano lesson or football practice, or take mini-walking breaks throughout the day.

(9-5 desk workers: DYK that taking walking breaks every 30 minutes has been scientifically proven to be more effective than a hard daily workout?)

Walking fits your life vs you fitting a workout into your life.

Second, because walking solves the problems women have with the health and wellness industry:

  • Despite all the workouts in the world, our health and wellness needs are not being met.

  • We feel underrepresented and underserved in the health and wellness industry.

  • Much of the messaging in the health and wellness industry is inherently shaming and blaming for us and makes us feel self-conscious and ashamed.

  • We want accountability and support without competition.

Walking is all-inclusive, non-competitive, no-gym-membership required.

(DYK 80% of people who have gym memberships never use them?)

Third, because walking creates whole Self health for women. That capital S is no mistake. It stands for your whole Self--your body, mind, and spirit. What we do to create health must nurture our whole Self to be sustainable, otherwise it will just become yet another item on our endless TO DO list--something we must do vs love to do. Here’s what walking does to create the love:

For your BODY: Walking treats or prevents over 100 diseases including heart disease the #1 killer of women and walking is the #1 doctor prescribed exercise. This alone is WHY--walking is an “entry level” activity that can’t be matched for effectiveness, efficiency, ease, doability, cost or time commitment. It’s what you need to get the exercise you want on a daily basis so you can live the happy, healthy life you deserve.

For your MIND: Walking boosts self-esteem, is a natural anti-depressant, and increases creativity by 60%. Women battle low self-esteem, depression and anxiety for a variety of reasons. Walking effectively combats these issues and creates a time and space for a mental break. Caring for your mental health in a meaningful way is as important as caring for your body. Walking does it all--it’s your multi-tasking miracle--part workout, part timeout, part moving mediation (see below).

For your SPIRIT: Walking is spiritual renewal. We ignore our spiritual health at our own peril. As women we possess unique knowings and intuitions that get snuffed out in our overwhelmingly busy lives. The simple act of walking opens those inner doors and helps you to feel connected and whole--tapping into your innate wisdom that this world desperately needs. Historically speaking, walking is a spiritual practice. From the pilgrimages to walking the labyrinth to taking a break from work, walking is a moving meditation, a much needed method of renewing your spirit so you are living from a place of true wholeness.

Summary: Why Walk?

  • Walking fits your life vs you fitting a workout into your life.

  • Walking solves your problems with the health and wellness industry.

  • Walking creates whole Self health. Your body, mind, and spirit benefit from walking in amazing, transformational ways.

Walking works wonders for women.

It’s been said, “You can handle any HOW with a big enough WHY.” (That’s WHY I started this series with WHY). Next week I’ll cover WHO walking is for. In the meantime, sign up for the 1MWW newsletter, This Beautiful Walk, to stay updated on walking news, tips for walking women, and the scoop on the One Million Women Walking movement.

Top Three Benefits of Winter Walking for Women!

Ladies it’s official—it’s winter. Granted I am writing to you today from sunny Anna Maria Island, Florida where I’m “snowbirding” for the holidays but I’ll go back to winter and have just come from winter—in Wisconsin! (The photo above was taken on a walk last week at Willow River State Park in Hudson, WI. I love the falls in winter!)

I lived in Minnesota and Wisconsin for 25+ years so I know a thing or two about winter walking. In my last blog post I reviewed how good gear and the right route make winter walking truly wonderful. In today’s post I highlight my top 3 benefits of winter walking for women.

  1. Combat SAD! Seasonal Affective Disorder is more common in women than men and, having suffered from it myself, I am particularly sensitive to how devastating it can be. Walking is a fantastic way to combat SAD because of the exposure to sunlight, which in turn helps us produce much needed vitamin D. Some studies suggest that a Vitamin D deficiency might be an underlying cause of SAD. Just 15 minutes of sun on your face and hands 2 or 3 times per week means getting enough sun for vitamin D production. This sun exposure triggers vitamin D production in the skin, which helps combat SAD. And ladies here’s a great side-benefit of winter walking/vitamin D production—our bones need vitamin D to make our bodies absorb the calcium we need to keep our bones strong.

  2. Burn more calories! I’m not a huge proponent of calorie counting but I am a proponent of being aware of what you eat and why. I’m also very aware that in winter it’s easy to eat more carbs and sweets and exercise less. That’s why winter walking is a great exercise choice. We burn more calories because our bodies are working harder to stay warm. Win-win? I think so!

  3. Boost self-esteem! Studies have shown that outdoor exercise can boost self-esteem. When we feel good about ourselves, we make better choices for ourselves. In this way boosting self-esteem becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-esteem is defined as, “Confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.” This is something I want for all women—that we feel confident in who we are and we care for who we are! Deliberately boosting our self-esteem with a winter walk seems like a very natural self-care choice!

Winter walking has benefits for your whole Self—that’s body, mind, and spirit—that will help you get through winter with a joy and resilience you’ve never experienced before. I highly recommend you get your walk on this winter to be happy, healthy, and to have a spring in your step no matter the season.

Happy Walking!

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