Walking Your Way to a Better Life

Walking Your Way to a Better Life

For as long as I can remember, I’ve used walking as a means to deal with just about anything life throws at me. Just the other day I was feeling quite stuck while Attribution to Kimberly Recorworking on an article, and knew that the only way to get my brain going was to get my feet moving. So, I put on a pair of comfortable walking shoes, grabbed a sweater, turned off my phone, and took a 15-minute walk around my neighborhood. By the time I came back I felt re-energized and inspired, ready to tackle the rest of my day.

Walking is a great way to stay in shape and clear your mind, no matter what age you are. For those entering the second half of their life, walking can be particularly beneficial. It’s a great way to exercise without causing too much strain on the body. Ideally, older American’s should participate in about 2.5 hours of moderate-mild exercise each week. If you spread that number out over seven days, it comes out to about 20 minutes each day, which is all the time you need to take a walk.

Incorporating walking into your daily routine can have positive results on your health within months. A research study done by the University of Georgia found that seniors participating in a walking program, which met 3 times a week for four months, showed great improvement in their physical functions and increased their aerobic capacity.  Aerobic capacity is the energy source that we use to do everything. By increasing it, the participants in the study performed their daily tasks better, and still had energy for recreational hobbies.

Still not convinced that walking’s for you? Here’s 5 more reasons walking is great:

Maintain Your Independence
By walking on a regular basis, you can decrease your risk for disability by 41%, allowing you to stay independent and self-reliant as you enter the later years of your life.

It’s Cheap Yet Effective
Make a little time commitment each day to walking. All you really need for walking is a great pair of walking shoes and a destination. You can really walk anywhere whether in your neighborhood, through your local shopping mall, or even up and down hallways if you want to stay close to home.

Mentally Stimulating
Exercising is great for the mind, no doubt about it. A recent study showed that people who exercised more had better cognitive brain function then those who led a more sedentary life style.

Mood Booster
Everyone knows that exercise is a great mood enhancer. By getting your heart beating through mild exercise, your body releases feel-good endorphins, which reduce stress and makes you feel happy.

It’s a Great Social Activity
Walking is a great social activity to share with friends. Make plans with friends to take a walk, or join a walking group near you and make new friends.

Re-Energizes You
Walking helps your blood circulate, so next time you’re feeling a little low energy, take a short walk and see how much better you feel. Often you’ll come back feeling refreshed and renewed.

If you’re ready to start walking here’s a few good tips to follow:

Get a Good Pair of Shoes
I can’t stress enough how important this is. Go visit your local running store, as they will be able to assess your walking style, and fit you for the right type of shoe.

Choose a Safe, Easy Route
When you first start walking, especially if you’re walking alone, make sure that you chose an easy path, one that’s unobstructed and with an even surface, has many people around, and access to restroom facilities.

Don’t Rush and Keep Hydrated
Give yourself time; rushing will only increase your risk of falling and hurting yourself. Make sure you carry water and snacks on you so that you don’t get dehydrated or your reserves become too low.

Be Mindful of the Weather
Make sure that you check the weather before you walk. If it’s too cold or hot, consider walking indoors, such as in a mall or community recreational center.

Walk with Friends and Carry a Cellphone
It’s always safer (and more fun) to walk with friends. If you’re walking on your own, consider carrying mace or a walking club, and always keep a cellphone on you.

Henry David Thoreau said it best: “An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day”.

So, take a nice walk today, and give yourself the blessing of health and happiness.

Author: Kimberly Recor, staff writer at Designing Brighter Tomorrows

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