Everyone wants to be healthy and often improving your health starts with taking that first step. This is the time of the year when the weather across the globe should inspire us all to get outside and take a walk. Whether you are experiencing the bracing chill of fall mornings or just starting to see the buds on trees it is time to get moving.
Why walk? Let me count the ways!
- The average person burns 100 calories per mile walked and takes about 2,000 steps per mile. Walking burns body fat!
- For most people walking an extra 20 minutes per day will burn an extra 7 pounds of body fat over the course of a year
- As I have found, walking can help ease back and neck pain
- Walking has been proven to lower blood pressure. A study at the University of Indiana has shown that even taking several short walks over the course of a day can lower blood pressure.
- A three month study found that women who walked lost 7.3 pounds while those who jogged lost 4.2 pounds. An added benefit is that walking puts less stress on your joints than jogging.
- Walkers are less likely to have heart attacks and if they do they are more likely to recover faster
- Research has shown that people who walk approximately 20-25 miles per week outlive by several years those who don’t participate in a walking program
- Walking increases your metabolism and helps control your appetite which is a great combination
- Walking has been shown to improve mild cases of depression and helps to relieve stress
- Walking improves the flexibility of joints and muscles as well as building strength in bones and muscles
- The more you walk the more energy you have and the more energy you have the better you will feel
- Walking helps you sleep better and who doesn’t like a good nights sleep
- Moderate walking can help your knees feel better and keep you mobile if you suffer from arthritis. People who suffer from arthritis and do not exercise are twice as likely to lose their mobility as those who participate in a moderate exercise program
- If you need some time alone, take a walk and it will clear your mind. If you have been spending too much time alone find a walking group and improve your social life
You have to walk regularly to see an effect, don’t expect to take a 10 minute walk on Sunday and see your blood pressure go down. But starting off slowly and gradually increasing both the rate at which you walk and the distance brings health benefits to most people.
Make walking a part of your daily routine. If you travel, take walks around the city you are visiting. If you work at home take walking breaks instead of eating breaks. If you work in an office take breaks to walk around the office – you never know what you will overhear or who you will meet.
Years ago when I traveled through Maritime Canada you used to see signs – Eat Fish for Health! The same can be said for walking – Walk for Health!