Peggy Jannsens, better known as “A Backyard Hiker” was born and bred in Belgium and moved to South Africa in 2015. She’s always been an adventurer and a lover of travel and the outdoors and when she moved to White River she started walking and exploring her backyard.
She says that it made her feel so good to be outside, to feel the fresh air on her face and to just sit and enjoy nature and think. She felt the positive effects of being outside, whether alone or with family and friends. That’s when she decided to start an online platform to inspire people to get outside and to start walking.
Peggy is now doing a 60-day challenge where she is challenging people to put their walking shoes on, get outside and discover their backyard! It starts on 1 September, and is for 60 days. You can do as little as 10 minutes a day. What do you have to lose?
To join the challenge, follow this link:
16 Benefits of going outside and walking
1/ You’ll get in shape!
Losing weight is the top resolution, combined with “exercise more” and “stay fit and healthy” it is something that we all wish to achieve. With walking, you can burn approximately 200-400 calories per hour depending on your current weight and fitness level and it all adds up!
2/ Who doesn’t want to improve their concentration and mental skills? Being outdoors will restore your focus. Can’t concentrate at work? Leave your office for a few minutes and go stroll in a nearby park. While you are at it, take your colleagues along and go for a “Walking Meeting” outside instead of sitting in a stuffy boardroom!
3/ Meet new people.
I know it sounds scary but it’s really not that bad! When we get stuck, we usually end up staying at home most of the time, missing out on a lot of interesting opportunities for having fun. Meeting new people can be beneficial to your mental well-being. No better way to be part of a community of like-minded people who are discovering their backyard around the world (even if some of them will be virtual friends).
4/ Become more active.
Getting outside every day for 10 minutes requires minimal activation energy, you just have to get up and walk. You don’t really even need to change your clothes or shoes (unless you’re wearing heels, of course). Pause that Netflix program, grab your family and friends and get outside!
P.S.: If you’re looking to go for longer walks or power walks, then putting on activewear and proper shoes is probably a good idea.
5/ Your confidence will grow.
More confident people get noticed and it is much easier to have your opinions heard. A good dose of self-confidence will help you lead a much happier life overall. Just make sure not to get overconfident, those are usually not very nice people.
6/ Walking and being outside will reduce stress!
Stress is one of the biggest killers out there, and it can have a very destructive effect on your relationships as well as your health. Walking keeps your stress hormone levels low and boosts your energy.
7/ Learn to be happier with your life. Even those that are in decent shape, make a good living and have stress under control can still be unhappy. It takes time and patience to learn how to find joy in the little things and not to let problems bring you down. While walking, your body releases endorphins leaving you with a great emotional benefit. You’ll be able to put everything in a better perspective.
8/ Pick up useful skills or fun hobbies.
Just sitting around all day won’t get you anywhere. It is much better to use your free time in a constructive manner and pick up new skills while having fun at the same time. By discovering your Backyard, you might pick up some new interests which you would like to develop a bit more. Take along your camera, buy a bird book or learn to identify trees.
9/ Learn to let go of grudges and avoid moping.
Times can be hard, and it may take a lot to overcome adversity, but sitting around and moping about it is just counterproductive. If you have a big fight with someone and fall out or get hurt over a small issue, you will only lose a friend or life partner and remain sad and bitter. Forgiveness is a much healthier way to deal with issues that should be left in the past. The outdoors makes us better people.
10/ Travel more and see the world.
We all dream of discovering the world, experiencing new cultures and visit faraway places. But our budget doesn’t always agree with our plans. You don’t always have to go far to discover new places. Expand your backyard, get in your car, take the train and you’ll be surprised what’s waiting there for you to discover.
11/ Spread your wings and reinvent yourself.
If you don’t feel quite happy with what you do, it is perhaps time to make some serious changes in your life. Reinventing yourself can give you a whole new perspective on life and take you in directions you may never have dreamed possible.
12/ Spend less time on social media.
Social media has become a serious addiction among a wide range of demographics. It’s an awesome medium to stay in touch with friends and family (or to keep your fellow challengers up to date of your progress). But before we know it, we spend endless time on social media. Do yourself a favor, when you go outside, unplug, put your device on airplane mode and only use it to take pictures.
13/ Become more social.
You get to have fun, meet new people and find out interesting things. But you can also develop leadership skills and learn to work in a team. Encourage people to go outside with you and build your own local community of Backyard Hikers.
14/ Start writing a book/journal.
You’d be surprised to know just how many people out there have an interesting story to tell but lack the confidence and skill to write everything down. Start small with a few notes on your daily Backyard discoveries and you might have a bestselling book of your adventures after the 60 days.
15/ Sleep better
Spending time in the outdoors doesn’t only improve your sleep but also makes you fall a sleep easier.
16/ Stick to the good healthy habits you’ve developed.
The last, and most important point to mention is that all the positive changes you make have to be permanent. You will need to work on sticking with the good habits you have adopted, until they just become a natural part of who you are. That is how you achieve true self-improvement.
These 16 benefits of walking will surely motivate you to head out for a stroll and discover your backyard!
It’s only 10 minutes a day, what can you lose?
Credit: A Backyard Hiker