Make the Most of Social Walking in Good Company with Friends and Family
The next time you invite your friends, exchange the tea and biscuits for a brisk stroll around your neighborhood. Walking can be so much more enjoyable when done with companions. Additionally, when you walk with friends or family, you benefit from the social interaction and fellowship that comes with good conversation.
And since walking is one of the simplest forms of exercise, you’ll realize exceptional health benefits while reconnecting with your friends or family, discussing work projects with a coworker or talking about things of common interest. Read on to learn why walking with a social group can work wonders for your health, emotional well-being and motivation.
Friends Keep You Motivated
Life can sometimes get in the way of your commitment to a regular walking schedule. Maybe you overslept and didn’t have time for your morning walk. Or, you had a dentist appointment during the hour you usually take a walk. And some days, you just don’t want to get up and go.
If you’re exercising by yourself, it’s easy to let your routine fall by the wayside – you’re the only person that’s impacted when a busy schedule or unforeseen circumstances prevent you from walking regularly. When you make a commitment to walk with a social group, your friends will hold you accountable to your regimen. They will serve as a source of encouragement and spur you to action. And you’ll do the same for them. You and your friends will receive mutual support as you become healthier through regular walking.
Emotional Benefits of Social Walking
The connection between exercise and mental health is well-documented. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, regular exercise reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, exercise can work as well as medication for some people with mood and anxiety disorders. A single aerobic exercise session can reduce symptoms for a short span of time, while a regular exercise schedule can lessen symptoms over the long run.
Plus, a support system in the form of a walking “buddy” may also be beneficial to you mental health. You’ll have a companion to discuss the fears, worries and problems that keep you up at night. You can share common concerns and seek solutions during your time together. And sometimes, just having someone to listen as you vent about your job, kids or other frustrations can serve as a great stress reliever.
Build a Community of Like-Minded Walkers
During a walk, your arms legs are moving, your heart is pumping and your lungs are getting plenty of oxygen. But you may need to keep your mind occupied during your walk. Some people listen to music or an audio book. Some organize their mental to-do list for the day, and others might use the opportunity for meditation and reflection. You should also consider using a regularly scheduled walk to discuss common interests with friends. Make your book club mobile and discuss a novel while you walk together. Contemplate faith-based teachings, or talk about your favorite new recipes. Chat about your favorite sports teams or television shows during your walk together.
Walk as a Family
Walking together can be a great way to reconnect and catch up with the people you love most. With jobs, kids and community obligations, chances are good you and your spouse don’t talk about much other than the day’s schedule, work and your kids’ activities. During a daily walk, make a rule that you only talk about fun things. Discuss your bucket list. Plan a family trip, or discover creative ways to connect like listing your favorite books, films or songs.
If they live nearby, you can also use a regular walking schedule as a time to catch up with your parents or siblings. Talk about your family tree with your mom, or learn about your dad’s military service. Discover things you didn’t know about your sister. Or give your brother a chance to tell you about his most recent trip.
You can reap significant health benefits and enjoy the company of others by walking together as a group. A walking buddy can keep you motivated and encourage you to stick to your commitment. Plus, walking together offers a great time to discuss common interests or activities.