Taking breaks has never been my forte, and I'm not just talking about the lunch kind. I get so caught up in my A-type overdrive and tend to hyperfocus; it's a wonder how I'm able to survive. Whether I'm deep in thought powering through a book I'm reading, fixed on my computer screen at work for hours on end, or laser focused on a cleaning or organizing project, the idea of taking a break to move around and give my body some healthy circulation can seem foreign (outside of a prescheduled, prebooked workout class, that is!).
I started an experiment last week of taking a quick 30-minute (or more) break every day at lunch to pause from work and hit the reset button, and it went so well. But my biggest takeaway was that the days that I walked were the days that I felt the best.
I decided that this week, instead of just taking an ordinary break, I'd take a walking break . . . every single day. Here's what I felt, what I found, and why I plan on keeping this up for the rest of the month.
Anxiety-Relieving Mood Boost
My typical form of stress relief and anxiety reduction is a good ol' sweat sesh. I love exercising to release endorphins and give myself a mood boost. However, I took a bit of a step back this week; instead of packing my mornings with heart-pounding cardio, I opted for only one workout: yoga. My only other form of movement this week was walking.
This might be obvious, but the fresh air and circulation did great things for my mood. I felt decidedly more positive, relaxed, and able to tackle what the week threw at me. Walking wins this category.
I was honestly quite surprised at how much walking made my body feel active. Usually when I miss workouts or take a week off, I feel sluggish, stiff, and restless — not the case with my daily walks. While I didn't really exercise outside of yoga, I feel like I took a solid break for my body but still kept myself from going crazy (or getting too much of that "blah" feeling) by doing some LISS every day.
More Sustained Energy
Sometimes I can tire myself out with intense workouts — and I've been known to do two workouts a day quite often. Most of the time it feels energizing and empowering, but sometimes that rigorous of a routine can totally run me into the ground; it just depends on where my body's at. With daily walking, I felt like I got a bit of the energizing effect of exercise with none of the crash.
Greater Sense of Physical Health and Well-Being
Whether it was because I hit my step and move goals all week or because I got some sunshine and fresh air — or because it just feels good to move your legs and take the long way — walking made me feel great physically. I've talked to celeb trainer Harley Pasternak a handful of times about the best way to stay active, and he always comes back to walking and getting more steps each day. "Strong in the gym; lean in life" is his motto, and now I'm starting to see exactly why . . . firsthand.