“Walking is man’s best medicine”
Sometimes we forget the basics. For many people returning to exercise after a long hiatus can be a painful experience. Shocking the body through intense running, weight training and sport can result in a short term comeback. So what’s the best way to get started? I believe it’s through daily walking.
Listed below are some of the physical, mental, financial, environmental, and other benefits to regular walking:
Increases metabolism. According to leading holistic health practitioner Paul Chek hundreds of calorie-burning muscles are utilized by walking through the integrated use of our arms, legs and torso. Walking briskly on a daily basis not only results in the burning of calories, it increases enzyme activity and other metabolic activity. Eherenfried Pfeiffer, famous nutritionist and biochemist, suggests that walking as little as two miles may result in increased calorie consumption for up to 12 hours post movement. (3)
Improves body shape. Walking transforms bodies not only through consuming more calories but also by improving the body’s ability to digest, assimilate, eliminate waste products and detoxify, especially if water consumption has increased.
Improvement in overall sense of health and wellbeing. Regular walking reduces the risk of Cardiovascular Disease by up to 50%. Studies have found that walking regularly over a long period of time can reduce your risk of stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis and is useful in treating arthritis, high blood pressure and even depression.
It’s low impact. Running can result in up to 10 times the body’s weight bearing down on the joints particularly the poor old knees, hips and lower back.
Decreases the risk of developing muscle waste, osteoporosis, and related fractures. Walking reduces the risk of hip fracture by up to 50% in women. (1) Mental Health
Enhances mental clarity and mood.
Walking allows a time for reflection and is one of the most effective methods of relaxation.
Walking is free. It only requires a good pair of walking shoes, which in some places like on a clean beach is not even necessary.
More walking could save £7 billion off the National Health Bill (Countryside Agency 2002) (3)
Save money on fuel and maintenance costs for those short trips
Walk for cleaner air. Transport emissions are already a major contributor to the greenhouse effect.
Is achievable and realistic. Walking can be easily integrated into most people’s lives. By walking to the station, shops, up the stairs – it all adds up!
Is easy. Walking is one of the most primal movement patterns and is what our body was built for. So no need to take classes as Nike say’s “Just do it”.
Is fun. Try Spending your weekends wandering cities or the countryside with family and friends.
For those getting back into exercise here is a 10-week downloadable walking programme: http://www.ramblers.org.uk/info/publications/pdf/take300205plan.pdf
Your 3d Coach
(1) Chek, The Power of Walking, http://www.chekinstitute.com/articles.cfm?select=38
(2) Benefits of Physical activity, World Health Organisation, http://www.who.int/moveforhealth/advocacy/ information_sheets/benefits/en/