- 30 minutes isn’t a long time – most of us spend that much time on Facebook or Snapchat, just doing nothing anyway. There’s something really simple we can all do to give our energy levels and our overall physical and mental well being a much needed boost – walking! All you need is your body and some shoes and you’re good to go.
- Weight Loss + Stronger Muscles
Walking for 30 mins burns about 150 calories (it may be more depending on your weight), about that of a muffin. Regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin and boost your metabolism, which can help reduce belly fat. It also strengthens the muscles in your upper legs and calves – this is great especially if you’ve been sitting down for a while. When it comes to muscles, the saying goes: “use it or lose it”
- Improved mood
Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility. Exercise releases endorphins which make you feel calmer and happier. If you’re walking outside, being exposed to the sun helps to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (the winter blues) and may even help you sleep better at night by encouraging melatonin production.
- Healthy Digestion
After eating a heavy meal, don’t flop down on the couch in front of the TV. Two different studies have shown that a post-meal walk can aid in digestion. One study in 2008 showed that walking sped up the rate at which food moved through the stomach. Other studies have shown that walking also decreases blood sugar after meals, which decreases your risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A 30-minute walk will help clear that excess glucose and get things moving in the GI system.
- It’s Great for Varicose Veins
A 30 minute walk is the perfect exercise for people with varicose veins because it’s extremely low impact. It may also help to improve the appearance and pain of existing veins by increasing circulation in the legs.
Everyone should be getting outside at least once per day, according to our expert at Atticus GP clinics. A 30 minute walk is also a great chance to be social and catch up with friends and family – either on the phone or in person. Also, even if you do nothing else that’s productive that day, you can still feel a little better at the end of it 🙂
- Weight Loss + Stronger Muscles
One cup of chickpeas packs an impressive 11 grams of protein and 10 grams of fiber (one third of the minimum recommended daily fiber intake, which is about 30 grams). They’re also rich in calcium and phosphate, both of which are important for bone health.
Rolled oats are packed with manganese, iron, folate, B vitamins, and other important nutrients. Regular intake of the soluble fiber in oats has also been shown to help reduce LDL cholesterol (that’s the bad kind).
Although they’re as sweet as their name suggests, the sugar in sweet potatoes is released slowly into your bloodstream, thanks to the fiber that comes along with it. The starchy root vegetable is also high in vitamin C, which helps boost immunity, and beta carotene, which is linked to reduced risk of heart disease and certain cancers.
My favourite winter veg! Because butternut pumpkin is starchy but relatively low in calories, it can be a great swap for more calorie-dense potatoes and sweet potatoes if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s also high in vitamin E, which promotes healthy skin. Plus, it makes great low calorie comfort food (mashed, roasted, steamed – whatever!)
Beans are a good source of protein and fiber, the two key nutrients that promote satiety. They help you feel full longer and can prevent you from overeating at the next meal and snacking unnecessarily between meals.
While it’s technically a seed, not a grain (making it naturally gluten-free), quinoa comes with the same heart-healthy benefits as other whole grains, and works the same way in recipes like stir-fries, salads, and grain bowls.
Brown rice contains the germ, bran, and endosperm of the grain, which means it’s got more fiber, protein, and nutrients than white rice (which is just the endosperm, with the germ and bran removed). Its high fiber content makes it great for satiety and weight maintenance, and it’s got a slew of other important nutrients, such as, iron, zinc, selenium, and B vitamins.