Another one bites the dust
Thursday morning began with a phone call explaining that my car had bit the dust. By the end of the day, I had bought my first official car and in that spirit, I decided to do a blog post on the power of, well… walking. Fitting, no?
In truth, I’m the first to understand that a car can be extremely useful. Our bus systems here are unreliable and an hour and a half clocked on before and after work just isn’t practical, leaving me incredibly blessed to have my hands on a new steering wheel. That being said, it’s all too easy to become dependent and so I try to get out and walk or bike places as much as possible.
The Sedentary Facts
- A 2005 Canadian Community Health Survey on Canadian’s activity levels showed, at 48%, that almost half of Canadians twelve or older spent less than half an hour walking a day with 25% admitting to sitting the majority of the day. 41% reported spending less than an hour to walk to work or for errands.
It seems walking is in our nature, but not in our routine.
Do you fall under the common misconception that a workout needs to be strenuous to be effective? Think again! We spent all day Wednesday touring the grounds of the Toronto Zoo and by the end, we were all feeling the day’s work and were sprawled out on a picnic blanket with empty water bottles, waiting for refreshments and a wholesome meal. Simple walking is an easy and accessible way to incorporate working out into our daily routine. The goal being to make it less of a workout and more of a lifestyle. We should take a cue from the European lifestyle of walking everywhere and implement this into our daily life for weight loss and general health and wellness. After all, these legs were made for walking and this is what they’ll do:
- Walk your way to health
- Regular movement protects us from disease through many mechanisms including reducing inflammation, regulating blood sugar levels, and reducing obesity rates.
2. Steps to an ecological footprint
- No equipment needs to be manufactured and operated, no facility needed beyond the great outdoors, no gas emissions to get you there, this is the environment’s finest of workouts.
3. Walk off excess fat
- Any exercise will assist in weight loss, yet walking may burn a higher percentage of fat than will high intensity exercises. It’s important to note that true weight loss is derived from more than just body fat percentage yet low intensity exercise has also been shown to have higher compliance rates, meaning you’re more likely to stick with it!
4. Refreshing but not exhausting
- Walking uses less energy resources than do higher intensity workouts. Even after a long day’s work, a gentle walk is enough to rejuvenate and relax the body.
5. How we are designed
- Rule of thumb for your health: live as you were designed to live!
6. Happiness is just a step away
- Studies have shown that regular exercise such as a brisk walk may be as effective as antidepressants in cases of mild to moderate depression!
7. Brain fuel
- Walking can stimulate the brain, improve memory, increase cognitive performance, and may even boost creativity! All heightened when coupled with the clean oxygen provided by a walk in nature.
- Studies show an increase in workplace productivity when walking was incorporated into the workday routine. Some of these studies used “treadmill desks” as the source of walking. There’s no excuse NOT to walk with that one!
9. Stress reduction
- There are many ways this happens but an interesting one: it boosts your feel-good endorphins and kicks your stress hormones to the curb!
10. Calm mind
- Many studies show that walking can put us in a meditative state. Om on.
11. Immunity boosting
- Studies have shown positive effects on the immune system when walking for 30 minute periods. This is once again strengthened in the outdoors when you reap the benefits of fresh air, vitamin D and the soothing effects of nature.
12. Digest this
- Gentle walking 40-60 minutes after a meal is a great way to improve digestion by stimulating the internal organs allowing food to pass through the system faster.
13. Free to a good roam
- No equipment, no money needed!
14. Conveniently located
- Whenever, wherever, a walk is a step away.
Walk this way: guidelines to increase the benefits of your daily walk:
- Take it outdoors away from big cities for air quality and immerse yourself in as many natural surroundings as possible
- Aim for 30 mins. or more brisk walking per day and focus on engaging your muscles
- Make it your top mode of transportation, whether through errands, going to walk, walking at your lunch break, whatever it is, make it a routine.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”
– Lao Tzu
Walking the way to health,