My Change of Attitude About Walking
I’ve always appreciated walks in nature, but it’s only since having a dog that I’ve really embraced walking.
Before, other than occasional hikes in nature, I rarely walked. It just didn’t seem like an interesting activity in itself. And if I needed to go to the library or store, walking seemed like such a slow way to travel compared to a bike or car!
But once I started taking Naboo on daily walks, I realized how wonderful walking is, even in urban settings. It’s social—I keep up with neighbors, meet new people and their dogs, and run into old friends and students (just last week I ran into a couple I taught to dance for their wedding).
I also get to enjoy people’s yards and gardens, watch the birds and squirrels, discover children’s chalk art on the sidewalks, and overall, feel more a part of my neighborhood and city. And that’s not even mentioning the great exercise I get, and the opportunity walking gives me to clear my head, let go of stress and be present.
The Many Physical Health Benefits of Walking
As I’m sure you’re well aware, walking is one of the very best things you can do for your health.
Besides exercising your muscles, there are many other physical health benefits associated with regular walking, including: 1, 2
- Supports maintaining a healthy weight
- Helps strengthen your bones
- Lowers blood pressure and reduces risk of heart attack
- Improves circulation and reduces risk of stroke
- Gives you energy when you’re feeling tired and improves quality of sleep
- Boosts your immune system
Walking is Brain Food!
Walking has many additional benefits to the physical ones. It can improve your mood, reduce stress and is good for your brain. And, as a Feldenkrais® practitioner, I know that walking is one of the best ways to integrate new learning.
Research with older adults have found that walking improves memory, attention and other cognitive functions, as well as lowering the risk of dementia.3
A study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign showed that walking helps build connectivity and coherence between different regions of the brain, so much so that it “actually mimicked that of the 20-somethings.”3
Of course, most aerobic activities are beneficial to your physical and brain health. The increased circulation helps deliver oxygen and vital nutrients and remove waste from your cells. However, some claim that since walking is often less strenuous than other forms of exercise, your muscles aren’t using up as much oxygen and glucose, leaving more for your brain.
Walking is Free and Always Available
What I know for certain is that walking doesn’t require a gym membership or any special equipment and can be done even if you’re out of shape. Plus it’s free and can be done pretty much anytime or anywhere.
So consider taking a walk today or tomorrow and see how you feel!
Join My Walking Series in April
If walking isn’t as easy for you as you’d like it to be, I invite you to come to my April class series on Walking. Class starts Tues 4/2.