Go for a Walk


If you have been reading my blogs you know by now I love win/win scenarios.  Walking is one of them.   Walking engages your entire body.   The benefits are extraordinary.   It fits ANY fitness level and the cost is minimal.   The benefits of walking aren't only physical.  Studies have shown that walking 30 minutes a day boosted moods in depressed patients faster than medication.  Another study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were.

Walking lowers Alzheimer's risk, improves sleep, slows mental decline and is a form of meditation.  When you go for a walk find something awesome about it.  It can be simple like  how the sunshine feels or it can become an opportunity to spend time with a family member.  

Walking is good for your heart.   A Harvard study shows that walking at a moderate pace (3mph) for up to 3 hours a week, or 30 minutes a day - can cut the risk of heart disease in women by as much as 40%.  The benefits for men are comparable.  Walking improves your circulation, helps breathing, boosts the immune system and can help prevent osteoporosis not to mention it can also help control your weight.  

Getting started is easy.   If you feel unsure of your fitness level or have problems breathing you should check with your Dr.  Otherwise, lace up your sneakers and get ready to go.  There are a few things to think about before you head out the door.  Access the weather.  Getting stuck in the rain stinks.  You may start out when the temperature is fine but in an hour it may get really hot.  Plan a route that is safe.  If it's evening you might want to wear something reflective or have on light colored clothing.  Keep in mind that you want to make this a round trip experience. 

Not ready to head out the door...that's fine.  Start walking in place.  Turn on your favorite T.V. show and start walking every commercial.  Gradually and at your own pace start adding more time.  If things get to be too difficult, sit down.  You can do this!



Want to get in a challenging walk, no problem.  As I mentioned earlier, make sure you have on supportive shoes, comfortable clothing, be aware of the weather and know your route.  Start walking with a comfortable gait.  Swing you arms a bit as you warm up your body.  Look left, look right...chin to chest, look up, loosen up your neck, roll your shoulders.  Take notice how you step, you should land on your heel, roll through your foot and push off with your toes.  You want your abs pulled in , pelvis slightly tilted, shoulders lowered, look forward, stand tall.  Swing your arms and as you increase speed bend your arms at the elbows into a 90 degree angle.  Breathing hard but not out of breath.

Pick up a pedometer and start keeping track.  You'll motivate and challenge yourself in no time.  You'll be improving your health and your mood.  Win/Win.



sources:
http://www.arthritistoday.org/fitness/walking/tips-and-strategies/mental-benefits-of-walking.php
www2.cambridgema.gov/~cdd/et/ped/ped_hlth.html

posted @ Wednesday, August 8, 2012 12:18 PM

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