But why do so many of us do so little of it as we age ? We park as close as we can to stores. We drive the 1/4 mile to the next store.We take cabs and subways. I get it. It’s the convenience factor. But if we want to really keep fitter as we age, walking is a great way to do it. Not only the little extra steps during the day, like parking further from the store, but taking a 20-30 minute walk 3-5 days a week can make a big difference.
I’ve been a walker most of my adult life. I live near the beach and often walk the shoreline.There’s no better place for me than walking the beach, both for health and to center my spirit. I also go to parks in the morning and do 2 laps before I get my day started.I show up at my kids soccer practice early and walk the track. And I take my kids for family walks after dinner in the warmer months. It’s great family bonding time too, I might add.
I have learned there are many health benefits and there’s really not many reasons any healthy adult can’t add walking into their daily routine, whether they do other exercises or not. The number to shoot for is 10,000 steps a day and a simple pedometer is all you need to keep track of that.
1-Walking at a brisk clip can help burn off abdominal fat. This is especially important as women age and get nearer or in menopause. It can also boost your butt, tone your thighs, and improve your insulin sensitivity.
2- Walking strengthens your bones.Weight bearing exercises slow the rate of bone loss and your body is the weight. You can even add 1 or 2 pounds hand weights if you choose.
3- Walking improves your mood. Nothing like a walk to ward off the blues and researched has shown that regular walking improves attitude and feelings of mild depression. Endorphins, serotonin and dopamine are released triggering feelings of mood elevation which in turn, relieve stress. Cool huh? Grab the walking shoes instead of the pillbox!
4- Walking increases your cardio vascular fitness which strengthens your heart and lowers risk of heart attack and can help lower blood pressure.
5-Walking is an easy routine to stick to, can be done alone or with friends, inside ( treadmill) or outside, on vacation, fast or slower, most days of the year ( weather permitting) and at any age. I take my kids walking all the time- beaches, parks, vacations, nature walks, you name it, you can take your family and all benefit from the exercise and fresh air too!
A few tips:
- Always wear a supportive walking shoe
- Alternate your pace by speeding up for 1 minute of every 5 or 7.
- Carry ID with you , water and your phone.They make phone cases where you can store your license in them for extra convenience.
- Don’t slouch
- You can also consider getting a heart rate moniter if you want to try to keep your heart in the fat burning zone or track your progress. Some are even compatible with iphones.