Dr. Sheldon Bjorgaard, ND
Walk Your Way to Better Health!
Walking is one of the most overlooked and underrated forms of exercise. Perhaps one reason for this is that walking has been around for so long that people forget how good it is for us! Some think that because they are not “feeling the burn” they are not getting any benefit, which couldn’t be further from the truth! Though we have always known that walking is a healthy activity, modern research has confirmed the multitude of health benefits of daily walking for many conditions, including:
High Blood pressure
When it comes to walking, as with most forms of exercise, consistency is the key. A little bit every day (even 10 minutes!) is better than a lot once or twice per week. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines Recommend 150 minutes of exercise per week for adults. This could equate to 30 minutes of walking 5 days per week, or 25 minutes 6 days per week. Unfortunately, less than half of the population meets these guidelines, and are at greater risk of poor health outcomes. If you are not used to exercising or being physically active, start out with shorter bouts of 10 or 15 minutes daily and work your way up. With walking, the more the better, and you can reap further health benefits over time by walking longer distances and more frequently. Walking in green spaces and nature provides additional benefits especially for mental well-being! Walking is beneficial at any time of the day, however a morning walk may have unique benefits, such as providing more energy, creativity and balanced mood throughout the day. You don’t necessarily have to walk briskly to obtain health benefits either, just get our there! As your fitness improves you will find it easier to walk faster and longer distances if you so choose. Using a pedometer to track your steps can help you keep track of your progress and stay motivated!
A walk a day keeps the doctor away!
1. Quantifying the dose-response of walking in reducing coronary heart disease risk: meta-analysis. Eur J Epidemiol. 2009;24(4):181-92.
2. The health benefits of walking in greenspaces of high natural and heritage value. Journal of Integrative Environmental Sciences Vol. 6, No. 4, December 2009, 261–278.
3. Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature. Journal of Environmental Psychology 30 (2010) 159–168.