While gyms may be closed as we practice social distancing, this doesn’t mean we can’t still go outside and get some exercise. Spending time outdoors and breathing in fresh air can be calming and grounding for our mental health and can also help boost our immune systems. And now that spring is coming and the days are getting longer and warmer, it’s the perfect time to go for a walk or a bike ride.
These are just a few of the many benefits of walking and biking:
- According to Harvard Health, walking can boost our immunity to colds and the flu. One study found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. Those who did get sick were sick for a shorter period of time and had milder symptoms.
- Another study found that walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% in study participants, and improved cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and vascular stiffness and inflammation.
- The above benefits also apply to biking, and biking has some added benefits when compared to walking. For one, by working to keep your bike upright and steady, your body builds muscle and your balance improves.
- Biking can also help you maintain a healthy weight, which will help lower your risk for health issues such as certain cancers.
- Walking and biking also have great impacts on your mental health. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain, which can boost your mood by decreasing symptoms of anxiety and depression and relieving stress. Exercise such as walking and biking also regulates your circadian rhythm, helping you sleep better, and strengthens memory and boosts creativity.
So, while you wait for the gyms to open again and are looking for something to do while social distancing, go for a walk or a bike ride – just make sure to continue social distancing while doing so. Not sure where to go? You can visit our website for information on bicycle routes and hiking trails in Somerset County.