NETfacts: Self-care

Walking Your Way to Better Health

Walking is great exercise at any pace, but did you know there are other benefits to walking other than the fact that it’s simple and free? Now that the nicer weather is here, there’s no better time to start a new routine and walk your way to better health:

Walking promotes good health

Walking is the key to controlling weight, as well as other ailments such as controlling blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke, breast cancer and diabetes. A daily walk extends your life, decreases the risk of depression and improves your mood and sense of well-being. According to Harvard teaching hospital Beth Isreal Medical Centre, walking can lower total cholesterol and increase your ‘good’ cholesterol. It’s also a great way to aid in digestion and reduce that bloated feeling after a meal.

 Walking keeps you mentally refreshed

Walking is a great way to solve problems, reduce stress or just totally clear your mind! Establishing a relaxing and peaceful rhythm can also make walking a form of meditation.

 Walking allows social bonding

Whether with a friend, a date, your spouse, partner or child(ren), walking is a great way to get to know each other, discuss issues without distractions or just enjoy each other’s company (even in comfortable silence!).

 Walking allows you to check out the world around you

In your own neighbourhood or while travelling in a new city, walking is the best way to take everything in and enjoy what the rest of the world has to offer. It’s also a great way to meet neighbours and possibly even strike up a new friendship (or walking buddy!). If you’re like me, it’s a great way to check out other people’s yards and gardens to get new ideas (and interior decorating ideas too if your neighbours like to leave their window coverings open!).

 Tips to get you started:

› Get a walking buddy and commit to meet on a set day and time (you’re less likely to make excuses not to walk when you have a buddy with you).

› A dog is a great way to have a constant walking companion – just don’t forget the poop bag (and if they’re like my dogs, they will be walking you!).

› Change your walking route to prevent boredom.

› Start with a moderate walk and gradually increase the pace and distance.

› Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.

› If walking on your own, put in the earphones and listen to an audiobook or music as you walk – upbeat songs will increase your walking pace for increased health benefits!

› Lace up and get walking!

Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net