Better living through nature
The beginning of this week kicked off Every Body Walk Week, a whole week dedicated to get America walking.
The educational campaign, organized by Every Body Walk!, encourages Americans to walk for 30 minutes a day, five times a week. There are many reasons to jump on this walking bandwagon.
You may be surprised that walking is actually a workout. The average 150-pound man burns 100 calories per walked mile. In fact, did you know that you burn almost the same amount of calories whether you jog or walk a mile? Also, since jogging creates more impact on your hips, knees and other joints, walking lessens your risk of injury while still providing similar benefits.
There are many other ways that walking can benefit you in the long run. It turns out that walking can reduce, treat, and even prevent diabetes, heart disease and depression. It can even help prevent some types of cancers, and it may improve breast cancer survival rates as well.
Walking is also helpful for asthma sufferers. Because it strengthens your heart and lungs, it can significantly reduce asthma symptoms.
There are three types of walking you can do for fitness. Those interested in someday competing in the Olympics should practice racewalking, which is actually an Olympic sport with strict rules and regulations.
For those of you simply interested in fun and fitness, there’s power-walking (also called speed-walking). This is basically the same thing as racewalking, minus all the guidelines.
The third type of walking is a little less formal and requires no training. Simply get outside and walk! You’ve been doing it your whole life, so going this route should be a piece of cake.
Walking your dog can give you quality time to bond with Fido, and you can get a
little exercise out of the deal, too!
Photo by Magnus Bråth/ Courtesy Flickr
If you still aren’t convinced that adding a mere 30 minutes of walking to your day is worth it, check out a few more reasons walking is a great idea for your fitness and health.
1. Walking is good for your brain. Studies have shown that women who walk at a moderate pace for about 1.5 hours per week have better cognitive function than those who do not.
2. Walking benefits your bones. Research proves that walking can slow the rate of bone loss in the legs in postmenopausal women. Women who walk about one mile each day have better whole-body bone density as well.
3. You don’t have to do it all at once. Walking in short 10-minute intervals throughout the day can give you the same health benefits that walking for 30 minutes straight does.
4. Walking prevents disability. Those who walk enjoy higher fitness levels, physical function and are less likely to become disabled as they enter the golden years.
Here are a few ways you can incorporate walking into your day:
• Get off the bus before your destination (you may even save time this way).
• Park your car farther from the store.
• Take a walk at lunch instead of having your food delivered.
• Walk for errands instead of driving short distances.
• Get rid of your riding lawnmower.
• Keep your walking shoes handy. Leave a pair at your office for quick 10-minute stress-reducing walks.
• Walk your dog.
For more information on walking and proper walking technique, click here.