Whether you walk in a business suit or a sweat suit, on city streets or country roads, it’s still the same left, right, left for health. In fact, it’s not a question of either/or, since every walk you take is a step toward good health.
Walking for walking’s sake shows you are giving exercise the priority it deserves. It will get you away from the demanding routines of daily life, a nice plus for mental health.
There are many health benefits to walking, including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress, lowering the risk of diabetes and improving the quality of sleep. Walking 10,000 steps a day is especially beneficial to your heart.
WALKING FOR A HEALTHIER YOU?
Benefits of Walking
• Burns Calories : Helps maintain or loose weight
• Strengthens the Heart : Lowers the ‘bad’ (LDL) cholesterol levels and raises the ‘good’ (HDL) cholesterol levels
• Lowers Blood Sugar Levels : Lowers the risk of diabetes
• Eases Joint Pain : Helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support it. Decreases the risk and pain of osteoarthritis
• Improves Muscle Strength : Helps the body maintain mobility, strength, flexibility and endurance
• Boosts Immune Function : May reduce risk for developing a cold or the flu
• Boosts Energy and Helps Battle Depression : Increases oxygen flow through the body. It can also increase levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine and the body’s natural chemical pain killers (ie, endorphins, dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin). Those are the hormones that help elevate energy levels and reduce depression
• Reduces Stress : Improves the quality of sleep
• Improves Skin Tone and Tones the legs
• Improves Memory
• Reduces the risk of colon cancer
Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program. This is especially important if you have not been regularly active or have some chronic illnesses that may limit the amount of time you should exercise.
You can get many steps in mowing the lawn, walking the dog, gardening, housework pushing a stroller, raking leaves, shovelling snow, participating in sports (biking, tennis, dancing, swimming, golf).
WALKING PLAN FOR BEGINNERS
• Initial Goal : Walk at a comfortable pace for about 10 minutes, three times a day 5 to 7 days per week (for example, to a neighbour’s house and back)
• Step It Up : Walk at a comfortable pace for 15 minutes twice a day (for example, walking to the end of the street and back).
• Add Distance : Walk for 15 minutes twice a day to a distance of a street and a half. (This means you will have to walk a little faster to cover this increase in distance.)
• Increase Frequency : Walk the new distance three times (three laps) once a day in less than 30 minutes
Posture is the first step for walking comfort and energy. Good walking posture allows you to take full breaths, engage your core muscles and use your leg and buttock muscles for a natural walking stride. Bad walking posture can contribute to aches and pains after walking.
Arm motion lends power to your walking, burning 5 to 10% more calories and acting as a balance to your leg motion.
The walking step is a rolling motion. Flexible shoes and a good insole will ensure you are able to roll through the step.
The push off by your rear foot is the key to walking with power and speed. Over striding viz a longer step in front, puts more stress on your lower leg joints and does not give power to your stride.
WALKING THE WALK
Remember, walking is free. There are no costly fitness membership fees
Walking has it all. Simple and natural, it does not require any instruction or skill. It can be a very modest form of exercise or it can demand enough skill and intensity to be an Olympic sport. You can walk alone for solitude or with friends for companionship. You can walk indoors on a treadmill or outside in the city or country, at home or away. You can get all the benefits of moderate exercise with a very low risk of injury. And to boot, walking is inexpensive. All things considered, Charles Dickens got it right: “Walk to be Healthy, Walk to be Happy.” Reward yourself with the money saved when you meet your goals. Buy Vissco’s Superfly Insoles that helps you maintain your gait and corrects your posture when walking.
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