Add in an apple a day and you’ve got a sure-fire way to avoid the doctor’s office and live a longer, happier life. But why walk when you can run?
While this post will be especially useful for those just joining the healthy living bandwagon, walking is for EVERYBODY. Here’s why:
- The easiest way to make activity a habit. We all know diets don’t work. Or if they do, the results don’t last long after the diet ends. What does work is healthy living which includes (mostly) exercise and good nutrition. Walking is a low impact, enjoyable activity that you can do everyday as part of your commitment to taking better care of your body.
- Helps you lose weight. Many people at the beginning of their health journey (including myself!) make the mistake that going harder will give you faster and better results. This is a false belief that will actually do you more harm than good! Your fat burning zone is 50-60% of your maximum heart rate which translates into a walk that you’re just about to break a sweat and can still comfortably carry a conversation.
- Will help you stay sane. Walking is a meditation exercise, if you choose. Walking outdoors, whether it’s your tree-lined neighbourhood or nearby park, is even better because it provides the added benefit of nature. Nature is known to having a calming effect on the nervous system, reducing stress.
- Can be used as social time. Walk with a friend, life partner, family or meet the neighbours during your daily walks. The health benefits of social activity are well known and why not take advantage of getting in some exercise at the same time?
- Great for minor pain management. Increase your endorphins and the pain just melts away into oblivion.
- Man’s best medicine. Check out this excellent article by the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety for an overview on the health benefits of walking.
- Increases stamina and energy. In this study of health benefits of walking, 60% of participants reported increased stamina and 55% reported increased energy. Not to mention 25% reported reduced stress levels and 10% reported decreased levels of illness.
- Helps you live longer. From lowering the chances of several cancers, heart disease and maintaining a healthy weight, check out this About.com article for study citations. This About.com article reveals that walking just 30 minutes a day adds an extra 1.3 healthy years to your life!
- Helps prevent depression, other illnesses and a whole host of preventable diseases. Here’s a great article from AARP.org and another published by the Mayo Clinic.
- Improves sleep and overall quality of life. From HowStuffWorks.com, this intensive article covers a wide array of health benefits including how walking will help you get more zzz’s and gain a more positive self-image and outlook on life.
With all these positive effects from such an easy, cost-effective activity, why would anyone choose NOT to walk? Really, I’d like to know! Please share your excuses, or ones you’ve heard others use, in the comments below.