Walking for Wellness

Walking . . . a movement that we all take for granted, so natural to human beings.  We learn how to walk as babies and from then on, it’s our main mode of transportation.  We walk around the house, across the yard or walk from the car on a regular basis, but walking can be so much more.  The exercise of walking is a gentle, low impact cardiovascular exercise that is easy, free and suitable for all ages and abilities. 

Walking has many benefits to our health and wellness.  Here are just a few.
  • Strengthens your heart – Regular walking will lower LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) while increasing HDL (good cholesterol).  Lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke and helps keep your blood pressure in check;
  • Lowers risk of disease – Regular walking can help reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes, asthma and certain cancers;
  • Weight management –You need to burn 600 calories/day more than the calories you’re eating to lose weight.  A person that weighs 60 kg burns 75 calories by simply walking @2mph for 30 minutes.  This increases to 99 calories if you speed up to 3mph.  Walking also increases muscle tone and mass.  Because of this, your metabolism will increase making your body more efficient at fat burning;
  • Prevents dementia – Studies have shown that being active has a protective effect on brain function and regular exercise such as walking can reduce dementia by 40%;
  • Prevents osteoporosis – Walking is a weight bearing exercise which helps stimulate bone growth and strength which in turn increases bone density.  It also aids in maintaining healthy joints to prevent conditions such as arthritis;
  • Gives energy – A brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers.  It boosts circulation and increases blood supply to each and every cell in your body helping you feel more alert and energetic;
  • Boosts mood – Studies have shown that regular moderate exercise (such as brisk walking) is as effective on mood as anti-depressants.  It releases endorphins into the bloodstream reducing stress and anxiety.  Walking can make us happier;
  • Social – Joining a walking group can be beneficial for people that enjoy the social aspect.  It can help with depression and feelings of isolation.

In order to experience the benefits of walking, you should be trying to get in at least three brisk walks per week at an intensity level that increases your breathing but you would be able to maintain for 20 minutes.  If you can commit to the frequency, intensity and duration of your walks you will see so many benefits (some that have not even been listed) that walking can bring for you.

So lace up those sneakers, get off the couch and get out and enjoy nature.  You will be glad that you did!

Janice will be leading a walking program beginning on Wednesday, June 3rd for those interested in taking part.  Visit our website for details at www.lifestylesfitnessstudio.ca  

Article by Janice McCurdy, Personal Trainer & Group Fitness Instructor

Posted in Uncategorized.