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You Should Walk More...and WHY!

Oct 28, 2014

Okay, I have a confession to make: I haven't always been a huge fan of walking just for the sake of walking. I mean, I am a modern-day human which means I benefit from some of the more modern advances in technology (i.e. desk chair, vehicle, etc) that allow me to take it easy more often than my ancestors once did. But the question is this: Is it truly a benefit to take advantage of all the wonderful things that allow us to take a load off?

My simple answer is "no." And I follow that answer with another confession: I now make it a point to spend at least 30 minutes a day (generally an hour if I can fit it in) casually walking. Am I trying to get my heart rate up? No. Am I trying to break a sweat? No. I'm simply adding in movement opportunity that has long been neglected. The surprise? I now yearn to walk, to get my body moving more often.

I know what you're thinking: "But, Blair, c'mon! You are an avid exerciser. You don't need to spend any extra time walking. So why waste your time." The fact is that I've realized what my routine was lacking--walking for the sake of walking. By adding in walking, I'm spending less time sitting. And I feel amazing!

I've compiled several reasons you should scan through to help you formulate an opinion as to whether or not you should get to walking...even if it's just an extra 15 minutes a day! (You already know where I stand!)

It's stress-free movement. Walking actually lowers the powerful stress hormone cortisol. We all live in a stress-filled world. Take a moment to break free and walk for only a few minutes to give yourself a breather.

It's easy on the joints. This isn't running we're talking about, there's no severe pounding on the joints. Plus, you're starting out slowly allowing your body to get used to the added movement.

It's about as cheap as it gets. You were born equipped to walk. The only things you may need are shoes and depending on how and where (i.e. beach) you choose to walk, you may not even need those.

You get outside in nature. Do you think all the infrastructure around you was always there? It sure wasn't! Walking outside gives you a chance to connect with nature--something we tend to forget about.

You work muscles you otherwise wouldn't. Find some outdoor terrain (i.e. hilly paths) and experience using muscles that are underworked...your glutes for example.

It aids in reducing body fat. You won't look like a fitness model from just walking, BUT frequent walking will help keep your body wanting to lose fat instead of store it like it would if you remained sedentary.

It helps keep blood sugar in check. Yup. Walking even slowly allows the muscles to take glucose (blood sugar) into the cells to be used--as opposed to shuttled to the liver to be converted into fat. Can't argue with that.

It helps lower blood pressure. Two reasons: The stress relief aspect I mention before; AND, aiding in body fat reduction which is also influential on blood pressure numbers.

Even folks with arthritis can do it! Can I say "no excuses" without sounding pushy? With walking being a stress-free movement if done with proper form, it can be done by most people and can even improve symptoms in those with achy joints.

It boosts your brain function. It's been shown to improve memory in seniors and cognitive performance in preadolescents. It probably has to do with good flow and circulation of nutrients through the body...even in the brain.

It's immune-boosting. Thirty minutes of walking can increase bug-figthing T-cells, which means you're more likely to fight off infection.

It's aid in fall-prevention. If left to our own built-in devices (think: legs, hips, ankles), without the aid of a cane or walker, we are able to maintain a musculoskeletal system that is capable of balancing and preventing fall. Walking improves balance and coordination that is generally seen in older folks.

It's a perfect time for "me time." We all need some time to collect our thoughts, take a deep breath, and give ourselves a break from all else around us. Why not do this on a walk?

We were built to do it dang it! Let's face it: We weren't built with mobile hip, knee, and ankle joints to remain seated all day long. Which means we need to use our bodies in the manner in which they were designed for us. Anything other than this natural gift is detrimental to our genetic make up. In short: Move your were meant to!

I'll wrap it up by reminding you that FT is sponsoring the ZERO Prostate 5k Walk/Run on Saturday, November 15th. We would love to see some familiar faces that morning. It's a great opportunity it enjoy the fall air, raise awareness for a great cause, and (of course) get outside and WALK!

For more information about the Walk or to register, CLICK HERE.


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