“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.”
Henry David Thoreau
Humans have been walking for millions of years. Cave-dwelling men would walk a hundred miles on a hunt to bring back enough meat to last through the winter. In the middle ages, walking became a way to adventure. Great migrations were all made on foot. Walking is natural to the human body. More than half the body’s athletic equipment’s primary function is for walking.1
Today, it is not necessary for most people to walk to get to their destination. Walkers walk for physical enjoyment, relaxation, a psychological release, or a natural form of exercise.2
There has been a resurgence in walking since the Covid19 pandemic. The last time Americans started walking more was during war times when gasoline was being rationed. During this time, magazines and newspapers had many articles about the joys of walking. Walking became a necessity. Walking may once again be a necessity for our overall well-being.3
Walking To Transform The Body And Mind
It is an exercise that does not need any equipment or a gym membership. It is a prescription for a healthy weight, improved memory, mood, sleep, and immune function. Our bodies are built for use. All the bodies systems, musculoskeletal, circulation, respiration, digestion, metabolism, and even the nervous system depend on physical activity.4
The Harmful Effects Of Inactivity
Studies indicate that inactive adults may be able to reverse age-related hippocampus atrophy in just one year of walking or moderate aerobic activity. The Hippocampus is a complex brain structure embedded deep into the temporal lobe. It plays a significant role in learning and memory. The hippocampus brain region begins to shrink in older adults as part of the normal aging process. This process can contribute to forgetfulness, memory loss, and increased risk of dementia. 5
How Much Exercise Is Required To Improve Memory?
It is recommended to start moderate walking a half an hour most days of the week. If that is too much, start with a few minutes a day and increase the amount by 5 to 10 minutes every week. Ideally, 120 minutes a week would be the goal.
Walking Increases Blood Flow And Alleviates High Blood Pressure
Walking is considered an aerobic activity, meaning “requiring oxygen .”During aerobic exercise, like walking, the oxygen you inhale is carried to your muscles, providing them the energy needed to perform.7 Walking also increases oxygen and blood flow to all body parts, including the brain. Supplying your brain with oxygen- and nutrient-rich blood is necessary for healthy brain function, but it also helps remove carbon dioxide and other waste products from your brain.8 Blood flow to the brain can also improve blood pressure. Healthy blood pressure levels are essential to neurological health. High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for dementia and neurological disease.9
Walking May Boost Mood
Engaging in aerobic activity, such as walking for 15-30 minutes three times a week, may alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has also been shown to increase emotional resilience and improve stress response.10
Regular physical activity is also associated with improved sleep and decreased stress, which could also positively impact the brain.11
Sleep becomes increasingly difficult as we get older. This not only affects mood but also impedes memory consolidation. Rest has a profound impact on brain health. Along with walking, it may be beneficial to seek a personalized cognitive behavioral therapy program if you have trouble sleeping.12
How To Prepare For Walking In Cold Weather
Having a pet increases the amount of walking despite the weather. When we do not have a pet or a reason we must go out, it can be easy to find excuses not to walk. To keep walking in inclement weather, dress appropriately. Dressing in layers is essential.
The first layer should be a light fabric that will pull sweat away from your skin and dry quickly.
The second layer could be a wool blend that provides warmth while wicking moisture away or a fleece.
The third layer will need to protect you from wind, rain, or snow. Gore-tex will keep you warm and dry.13
Choose shoes with proper arch support, a firm heel, and thick flexible soles to cushion your feet and absorb shock.
Alleviating Joint Pain And Discomfort
Walking may be difficult if you experience joint pain and discomfort. It is essential to take care of our skeletal system. Our bone health is affected by several things such as diet, stress, activity level, muscle mass, medications, and more.
Joint Vibrance may be of benefit. The carefully selected ingredients promote a healthy inflammatory response and may aid in alleviating joint pain and discomfort. This complete formula supports the health of bones, and connective tissue, including cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. In addition, it enhances the lubrication of joints for more excellent cushioning.
Walking Techniques For Success
You should always begin strolling for 5 to 10 minutes to warm up your muscles. Check your posture; your head should be up, looking forward with your shoulders back and relaxed. Swing your arms freely with a slight bend in your elbows. Stroll for 5 to 10 minutes to help your muscles cool down at the end of your walk.
Make walking an enjoyable activity. Ask a friend or neighbor to join you, switch up your routes for a change of scenery, listen to music or a book on tape.
Notice the leaves, clouds, flowers, and beauty around you. This intentional awareness of your surroundings increases awe, joy, and compassion.14