A 19th-century Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard said “Above all, do not lose your desire to walk. Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness." More than 150 years later, millions of people are following in his footsteps. And for good reason.
Researchers know that walking regularly can strengthen your bones, tone your muscles, and trim your waist, and it may reduce your risk of some cancers and other deadly diseases. The more you walk, the better your mood and the lower your risk of depression. Walking outside for 20-30 minutes several times per week to alleviate stress and give your mind a boost. Like any other cardiovascular exercise, brisk walking boosts endorphins, which can reduce stress hormones and alleviate mild depression. Endorphins, which are chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn also helps to reduces stress.
This has been well documented and everyone knows that a steady regimen of daily walking can help everyone live a healthier lifestyle. Not only by getting you active and allowing your muscles to get some much needed toning, but walking at a good pace strengthens your heart as well. And as you get used to doing this, you increase your distance while keeping the same time frame in place. This way you are constantly pushing your body, in this way you should continue to improve both your health and stamina.
This does not need to be a major addition to your daily activities. If you think about it, you just need to make a conscious effort to walk more instead of jumping into your car and driving where you could have just taken a walk to get some of your chores done. In this way you’re turning your “Need to Do List” into a spontaneous exercise routine.
It’s a fact that most Americans just do not walk as much as they should. Especially those of us who spend their days sitting in front of a computer, doing data entry work. Or standing behind a checkout counter or assembly line. We need to move, and we have become a society of non-movers. Which is why over the past few decades we have seen an escalation in obesity rates climb and more and more of us, unfortunately are suffering from high-blood pressure or various types of heart disease or even diabetes. Much of this could be changed by incorporating more physical activities into our daily lives. Walking, especially power walking can help turn these medical issues around and help us to live a better life, and if you watch what you eat along with getting active, you may be able to lose those medications you might be on to combat those ailments that inactivity can bring about.
Only 30 percent of us get the recommended half hour of exercise a day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). If your daily strolls add up to a half hour most days of the week, you'll probably add a year or more to your life, according to a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. But instead of strolling through your walk time, dial up your pace a bit so that you’re making a conscious effort to increase the number of steps in that same time period. The key measurement is, you should be walking at a good brisk pace, but still be able to carry on a conversation with a friend that may be accompanying you. If you’re walking solo, try singing a song under your breath and see if you are able to walk, breathe and sing at the same time. This is a great test to make sure you’re walking at an adequate pace that will help you to push your body during your walking routine.
Next step: Buy an Accurate Pedometer, or Activity Monitor to track just how much you're actually moving each day, and aim for 10,000 steps a day (the average American walks only about 5,000).
Counting steps rather than minutes will encourage you to walk farther, says Dixie Thompson, Ph.D., director of the Center for Physical Activity and Health at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. In one study, Thompson and her colleagues asked women to take a brisk walk for 30 minutes on most days or to accumulate 10,000 steps a day. Women who counted steps rather than minutes took an additional 2,000 steps a day, which adds up to almost a mile. Record your steps for one day, then add 1,000 more each week until you reach 10,000, suggests Thompson.
Pushing and motivating yourself is going to be an ongoing battle that you need to win if you’re going to embrace a “New Healthier You”! But another old adage is "you get out of life what you put into it"! Being healthy in the long run benefits you and those that care about you. You owe it to yourself to be as healthy as you can so that you can enjoy your later years, just as your body was designed to do from the time man discovered fire.
Walking yourself fit is probably one of the easiest exercises you can do to help prolong your life and keep you mobile and flexible. When your walking, you should be breathing hard but not gasping or breathless to give your heart and lungs a good workout. Brisk walking burns 460 calories an hour, while walking at a moderate pace burns just 280. Its as easy and as simple as that!
I guess that old statement even works with walking. No pain, No Gain!