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Posted on 01-07-2014

There are at least 15 benefits to walking.  Can you name 4?

For most of us walking is simply a way to get around and, unfortunately, we use walking less and less as a mode of transportation and more as a means of getting from room to room or to our car.  For many of us the walking required to shop at the mall or grocery store is about the most we don in any given week.  And yet the simple act of walking could be that essential key to long term health and fitness in your life. 

How many of the following benefits did you list?

Walking... is a good way to burn calories.  You burn an average of about 100 calories per mile walked on a flat, hard surface, more if you walk on grass, sand, or add a few hills.

Walking...improves your cardiovascular system and overall health by increasing heart rate and circulation.

Walking...helps reduce blood pressure by aiding in weight reduction, improving circulation, and strengthening your heart.

Walking...helps reduce the risk of heart disease by increasing heart rate and circulation and helping to reduce blood pressure.  It also helps reduce cholesterol.

Walking...is a weight bearing exercise.  In your 20s it helps build peak bone mass and in your 50s it helps prevent the loss of bone that leads to osteoporosis.

Walking...reduces the risk of colon cancer and stroke in women.  The long term Nurses' Study has shown that women who walk regularly have a reduced rate of stroke.

Walking...helps reduce stress.  As an aerobic exercise, walking stimulate the brain to release beta endorphins which have a calming and soothing effect.

Walking...helps boost brain power and prevent mental decay and memory loss such as that experienced in Alzheimer's disease.  A study published in Nature showed that walking increased blood flow and oxygen to the brain leading walkers to score far better on mental tests.  Walking specifically boosted the activity of the frontal areas of the brain associated with logical thinking, planning and memory.

Walking...improves muscle tone in the lower body leading to better balance.

Walking...improves overall body tone by not only working the butt and legs but also the arms and shoulders as well as engaging the abdominal muscles.

Walking...is used to help in the recover of many ailments, including heart attacks and surgery.

Walking...can help people with poor circulation to the arms and legs by increasing the size and efficiency of the tiny vessels that supply blood for cellular respiration.

Walking...can be enjoyed by everyone.  It requires no equipment except a good pair of walking shoes.

Walking...is free.  It doesn't require an expensive gym membership.

Walking...can be done anytime, anywhere.

WALKING TIPS

  1. Invest in good shoes.  The ball of your feet should rest where the front of the shoe bends while walking and make sure it has plenty of cushioning.  High top shoes are not recommended because they restrict full range of motion.
  2. Allow your arms to move freely.  Save your weights for other forms of exercise.  If you insist on using weights make sure they are light enough so they do not interfere with the natural rhythm of your arms.
  3. Use good posture while walking.  Looking down while you walk puts added pressure on your neck.
  4. Walk with a partner or your dog.  Try listening to music or a book on tape.  You will actually walk further if you have pleasant distractions.
  5. Check with your physician before starting an exercise program especially if you have any health issues or concerns.
  6. ENJOY!!!

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