Walking is easy. Easier, in fact, than standing on your head. As long as the same leg isn’t used twice in succession, nothing much can go wrong. ~ Unknown Author
Every once in a while I feel the need to harken back to my urban pedestrian blog roots and talk about walking. It’s been so cool to hear about all the people in Ottawa who’ve discovered the joys of walking over the last couple of months. People who say they’re enjoying it so much that they’ll keeping walking to and from work even when the buses decide to run again.
When our children take their first steps everyone is so excited. Hands are clapped; squeals of joy are squealed; home movies are made; photos are taken; the momentous occasion is discussed with all and sundry.
After that walking becomes a bore. It takes too much time. It hurts. It’s tiring. The car’s right there in the driveway…
Perhaps we’ve forgotten how truly miraculous walking is. The whole point of the genus homo becoming erectus was the standing up and walking part.
Dangling right there at the end of your buttocks is the key to long life, good health and well-being. Your legs. They move, they bend. They’re capable of supporting your entire torso and carrying it, one step at a time, around the globe.
Are you carrying too much weight? Feeling logy and sluggish? Depressed? Blood pressure higher than your IQ? Tired of the round of colds and flu every winter?
Well, a bit of walking outdoors each day will work wonders. You don’t need radical diets. You don’t need to run or sweat it out in a gym or buy a bunch of overpriced equipment – just some sensible shoes and clothes suited to the weather.
For added fun, get a pedometer and build up to the 10,000 Steps-a-Day thing for optimum benefits. Add some “huff and puff.” For some that means just getting out of a chair and moving, for others it means picking up the pace a bit. Incorporate it into your day. Park further away from work and walk 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes after work and maybe another 10 at lunch or after supper.
Regular walking can:
- Improve fitness level
- Boost the immune system (non-walkers have 3 x the risk of catching colds)
- Help control weight
- Reduce blood pressure
- Reduce blood cholesterol
- Reduce abdominal fat and increase in metabolism
- Help manage and reduce risk of diabetes
- Prevention of erectile dysfunction
- Reduced risk of dementia
- Protect against osteoarthritis and hip fracture
- Help develop and maintain muscle strength
- Reduce insomnia
- Increase aerobic capacity
- Protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease
- Relieve symptoms of stress and depression
- Provide a higher degree of autonomy later in life.
- Increase longevity
For more information and/or to get start, try The ACTIVE2010 Pedometer Challenge.
And for those of you who are regular walkers or have just discovered the benefits of walking, this would be an excellent time for testimonials.