Do you walk?

With most of my coaching clients, one of the daily recommendations I make, is to walk. Some of them are starting from a sedentary life with no exercise but even those who do exercise regularly are often encouraged to walk every day.

Why?

This simple movement is powerful. It’s how we’re designed to move. We’re not built to run long distances, sorry honey (he’s an endurance runner). We’re are built to walk and we’re built to sprint occasionally. When we walk we turn on systems in our body that regulate hormones, metabolism, hunger, sleep cycles, emotions, and your immune system. Walking really is one of the best things that you can do for yourself.

Here are a few stats and studies on the benefits of walking:

From Harvard: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/walking-your-steps-to-health

  • Among 10,269 male graduates of Harvard College, walking at least nine miles a week was linked to a 22% lower death rate.
  • Among 44,452 male health professionals, walking at least 30 minutes a day was linked to an 18% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
  • Among 72,488 female nurses, walking at least three hours a week was linked to a 35% lower risk of heart attack and cardiac death and a 34% lower risk of stroke.

How Walking Benefits the Brain –https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170424141340.htm

“New data now strongly suggest that brain blood flow is very dynamic and depends directly on cyclic aortic pressures that interact with retrograde pressure pulses from foot impacts.” Or in layman’s terms, your footsteps can increase your brain’s blood flow.

Psychology Today  – https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-athletes-way/201710/walking-study-corroborates-hippocrates-s-prescriptive-wisdom

60 minutes of exercise per week—at any intensity—helps prevent against future depression.” Stanford – Walking Improves Creativity-https://news.stanford.edu/2014/04/24/walking-vs-sitting-042414/ “A person’s creative output increased by an average of 60 percent when walking.”

American Cancer Society – https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/study-even-a-little-walking-may-help-you-live-longer.html

“all levels of walking, even levels below the recommended guidelines, were associated with lower mortality risk. Participants who walked for less than 2 hours per week had a lower death risk than those who got no activity at all. And those who got in 1 to 2 times the recommended level of physical activity just through walking had a 20% lower mortality risk.”

The bottom line….

Walking is easy to do and it’s exceptionally good for you. And walking is good for your stress levels, which impact your sleep, health, energy, and appetite. You can truly walk away your stress. Both mentally and physically, walking an extended distance improves your mindset and de-stresses your body. (Walking also helps keep obesity at bay, and reduces your risk of contracting heart disease.)

This low-intensity exercise caused a 65% reduction in fatigue and a 20% boost in energy in test subjects during a 2008 study at the University of Georgia in the United States. Walking for just 20 minutes per session, 3 to 5 times per week, boosts your energy and helps you walk off the aches and pains that come from a sedentary job or lifestyle.

Walking is a simple way to stretch out your legs and engage your core. As you walk, you can also pump your arms and roll your shoulders, helping your upper body relax as well. If you can fit a couple of 20 minute sessions of walking into your daily routine 3 days each week, your body will feel more relaxed, you will suffer fewer minor aches and pains, and your mental well-being will benefit too. If you want to count your steps, go for it.

If counting your steps isn’t for you or a pedometer isn’t in the budget, no big deal. Just get outside and walk for 20 minutes a day. Couple that with an awareness and conscious effort to walk more during your day, like taking the stairs and parking at the back of the lot, and you’ll feel an improvement in your health, vitality, energy, and sleep. Walking is a simple step toward better health.

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