The following is an archived post
Spring is officially here (although it has certainly felt like it for some time now with all this warm weather, especially in the Northeast). This mildness makes us all want to shed that heavy clothing and get outside to enjoy the air and sunshine. There are many ways to do so, whether going to the park, enjoying a meal outside or playing outdoor games. So what better time than now to increase our physical activity by incorporating some more walking into our routines? Walking is one of the easiest ways to get exercise, the necessary exercise one needs to be healthy, and is also one of the easiest forms of exercise to build into your day. It’s safe, simple and doesn’t require practice; it’s truly accessible to almost anybody.
According to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), walking lowers the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and certain cancers, and also can help control stress and boost mood. Of course, physical activity helps keep weight in check. A 30-minute brisk walk on five days of the week is all most people need to accomplish all of the above.
What are some ways to build in some walking? If you live near stores, walk to do some simple shopping. If you use public transportation, get off one stop earlier and walk. You can also walk around towns and cities, parks, take longer walks with pets, and even walk indoors, like at a museum. And make it fun! Walk with a friend or listen to music. (In fact, my 86-year old grandmother, who is afraid of tripping on uneven roads, takes walks with friends around a huge local mall!)
Thinking of the Future
Walking research indicates that later in life, walking becomes as much an indicator of health as a promoter of it. HSPH reports that after age 65, how fast you walk may predict how long you have to live. Researchers have found a remarkably consistent association between faster walking speed and longer life.
Interested in a walking program to either get started or boost what you currently do? Check out America on the Move! It’s a great source for tools; you can even begin a walking program online as an individual or group!