Walk On

If you want to get healthy, just a simple walk can get you started. Your body is built for walking and your feet are your friends when it comes to slowing down in this fast paced world.

Walking is more than just a way to get around. When you walk, your brain is prompted to release endorphins that will give your mental health a boost. Going for a walk is also a great way to clear your mind and even improve your memory.

While you may have heard that you’ll need to walk 10,000 steps to gain any health benefits from walking, that really isn’t the case at all. There have been more than a dozen studies of nearly 50,000 people around the globe to discover how many steps are really necessary for health. The studies all show that between 6000-8000 steps is enough. And there isn’t any further benefit if you go over 8000 steps.

Whatever the ideal number of steps, for many of us, counting our steps on a daily basis is simply not a realistic goal. If you are one of those people, then instead of setting yourself up for frustration, and possibly failure, just focus on walking thirty minutes a day at an average pace. No matter how many steps that works out to be, it will likely be enough for you to improve your heart health.

Why all the talk about walking?

It’s estimated that up to 50% of Americans are not active. But being active in any way can help you lower the chance of life threatening diseases. Walking is something that everyone can do, no gym membership or special equipment necessary. There’s no learning curve and you don’t have to worry if you’re “doing it right.” There are no rules to walking, and you can even break up the amount of time you walk into 10 minute chunks (or less) during the day.

Whether you choose to count steps or not, you can find ways to put more steps in your day by parking further from your office door, walking to a colleagues office instead of phoning, using the stairs instead of the elevator, and walking while talking on the phone. At home you can add more steps by pacing in the kitchen while waiting for coffee to brew, or by taking groceries in one bag at a time so you’ll make multiple trips with additional steps. Get in extra steps with your children by playing a game of tag in the yard or walking with them while they ride bikes or skateboard.

Walking in your neighborhood or local park can be an opportunity to learn by listening to a podcast or audio book. It can be a great way to socialize with family and friends. And when neighbors walk around their home vicinity, crime rates are lowered. The whole community benefits from the extra eyes watching the neighborhood.

When you walk, blood flow and circulation increase through your brain and body, which makes it great for lifting your mood and generating creativity. Walking can also help to calm your mind and ease your worries. Inviting friends to walk with you further promotes good vibes.

It can often be hard to motivate yourself to do any exercise, especially after a hard day at work. The last thing you think will help is working out. But while you walk you may notice that you’re feeling less tired and more energized. And at the end of the day you’ll actually sleep better because you expended energy during your physical activity.

As if all of these reasons weren’t enough to get you moving, studies show that walking helps make your bones stronger, boosts your endurance, improves your muscles and reduces excess body fat. The benefits of walking are undeniable, and the directive is clear: Get walking to create a more vital, calmer, happier, and healthier you.