It seems that nowadays, everywhere you care to look has a pretty consistent message: buy more. Americans are encouraged to buy, buy and buy some more to be an enthusiastic participant in consumerism. This reality has definite economic and societal benefits, but it comes with some downsides, which comes with modern advances in technology.
You can now buy anything from the comfort of your own home, without the stress that comes from leaving the house and driving to and from stores and other businesses. This fact has the unfortunate side effect of increasing the sedentary lifestyle of many U.S. citizens, meaning that there are fewer reasons to walk outside on a more consistent basis.
There’s a natural flipside to every new development that occurs in a society when innovations spread their influence, and the rising rates of obesity and type two diabetes seem to be an unfortunate byproduct of the convenience inherent in excessive amounts of purchasing. This fact is especially true in regards to purchasing calorie dense, nutritionally deficient food, which now is done without ever having to step out of bed.
We want to spread the message that there are very valid reasons why convenience shouldn’t cause you to sacrifice the activity of walking outside, and we have listed four reasons why.
1. You Will Exercise Important Leg Muscles
It should be brain dead evident to everyone that’s reading this, but your legs are kind of important. You need them to walk around and do things like walk to the restroom and step on legos. Legs are a generous gift in terms of physiology, and an essential part of maintaining their health, is to ensure that their muscles are adequately ‘feed.’ Muscle health is vital, providing a baseline of physical wellness that drives you in functioning on a day to day basis, and neglecting that health on a chronic basis can prove disastrous. A glance at the rate of chronic physical illnesses, in areas such as the Rio Grande Valley, is evidence enough of how not exercising your legs regularly spells trouble.
Please, don’t neglect the benefits that come from the simple act of walking outside of your room and house. Any consistent act of leaving a constrained place is exponentially better than just squatting in place for who knows how long. The act of walking is the simplest, and yet among the most effective form of exercise that you could do.
2. You Will Lower Stress
Have you ever just sat there – sat anywhere, really, like the bed, or couch, or park bench – without engaging in anything requiring any kind of sustained, meaningful engagement whatsoever and felt miserable? Has this happened to you enough times that if you’ve expressed these worries to a third party, and they just told you to ‘exercise more’? That response to your problem might seem like something that’s both obvious and stupidly simple, but that’s because it is, and more importantly, it works.
Exercise, which includes walking outdoors, will exercise muscles in your legs, which will release endorphins and increase heart rate, both of which can reduce stress levels that build up due to lack of activity. When you choose to be among nature, which can hopefully include rays of sunlight, fresh air, and the inherently calming sights of our beautiful, green planet, you commit to engaging with a more peaceful physical place than a constricting, artificial one such as the inside of a full bedroom or living room. If you couple the beauty of nature and the release of endorphins that exercise brings, you are starting to defeat the beast called stress.
3. You Can Lift Your Mood
If you earnestly believe that you can disentangle the inherently mood affecting properties from sustained negative habits such as lack of exposure to the outside world and lack of physical activity, then boy, you couldn’t be more wrong. Quite frankly, sitting in a comfy hole, watching Netflix, and subsisting entirely on whatever convenient, salty, calorie rich and nutrient-empty bag of chips or candy bar is going to make you sick physically and mentally.
To attack the adverse side effects of a profoundly sedentary psychologically numbing lifestyle, you can start to implement activities that will improve your day-to-day schedule. Another way of looking at walking outside can be viewing it as an act of release from a binding situation, the equivalent of releasing tension and pressure that builds from the center point of a cracked building. If that tension point crumbles, then that strain is released, and something new can be built on top of the remnants.
4. You Can Interact With Neighbors and the Outdoors
Going out and being a physical part of the rest of humanity has an unexpected benefit: you get to be out of your head and interact with fellow humans. Shocking, we know. Humans are social beings, and if we were physically and mentally at a distance from each other, then in due time we start to fully feel the often terrible ramifications of our self-imposed isolation.
Basically, you need to get outside and talk with people or else you’ll get into empty conversations with either yourself or your pets. You need to exercise to make yourself physically and mentally happier, and you can also do so while also engaging in pleasant, perhaps ritualistic conversations with friends or family members, which in turn will only increase your wellness overall.
Here’s yet another significant part of walking outside: you don’t need a gym membership of any sort. All you need to take a positive step in the right direction towards a healthier and happier lifestyle is the will to act on your desire for change. Are you willing to take the first few steps? We hope so.