In ancient times and still today in some countries people “walk” everywhere.
There was no public transportation to speak of prior to the 1900’s, and only the wealthy owned horses, and rode in carriages.
Today we drive everywhere. Even those without cars have public transportation.
When we actually use our legs it is usually just to walk around our home, then out to the car, then from the car to work or school, and occasionally we walk around a store. Problem is we are not walking enough to get our heart rate up and to burn calories, so we gain weight, and become lazy and unhealthy.
To remedy this problem a new invention was made called the “treadmill” where you can “walk” in place.
Kind of crazy if you think about it. Why not just go for a stroll at a park, or go hiking or jog around the block? Our modern lifestyles have made us too busy to exercise, and though we are busy, we are still lazy! Sound like a paradox does it?
How many people buy exercise equipment and never use them? Come on admit it!
Why? It is not natural!
Wouldn’t you much rather exercise with a purpose, like play ball with your kids, play sports with friends, or walk along the beach with your sweetheart? When others are involved it is more rewarding and enjoyable.
We have so many modern conveniences today like televisions, computers, cars, washing machines, cell phones, lawn mowers, you name it! As nice as these all are the result of modern technology is that they can lead to a lazy and unhealthy lifestyle. I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with these things great marvels of technology, but just that we have not realized the impact they have on our lifestyles.
I know you and I never grew up without most of these things, though our parents or grandparents know what it was like. We can’t turn back time, and I really wouldn’t want to anyway, would you? I know I’m not too fond of hand washing all my clothes, though I did try it when I lived in Asia (with no hot water!).
We can learn to compensate and adapt.
Cars, though very convenient, have spoiled us by magically transporting us anywhere we want to go (as long as we have $$ for gas!). But what about walking? Next time you go shopping why not park a little further away from the store, instead of trying to get the closest spot? Or instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs (unless your office is on the 20th floor, huff and puff!).
Walking is one of the most natural forms of exercise. Best thing is it doesn’t cost money!
Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise. It’s safe, simple, doesn’t require practice, and the health benefits are many.
Some of the benefits of walking are:
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes
- Reduces high cholesterol
- Helps manage your weight
- Reduces body fat
- Improves your mood, and mental well-being
- Increases bone density and helps prevent osteoporosis
- Helps you stay strong and fit
Don’t forget to “Warm up” and “Cool Down” Warm up by stretching your muscles before walking. Include the calf stretch, quadriceps stretch, and hamstring stretch.
To reduce stress on your heart and muscles, end each walking session by walking slowly for about five minutes. Then, repeat your stretches.
You might ask, “How much time required for a walk to be beneficial health wise? Walking as an exercise should be done at a comfortable pace to ensure the muscles have sufficient oxygen available. Like regular aerobic exercise, walking should be done three times a week for 30 minutes or more to increase levels of fitness and aerobic capacity.
Another question you may have is, “How fast should I walk?” You can walk at a pace that is brisk but does not prevent you from talking to a friend in a normal manner. If you walk alone this might be a good idea to call a friend so you can “talk and walk”!
What about your children? Recent statistics show that only half of 11-16 year olds currently walk for ten minutes a day. Yikes! Childhood obesity is also becoming a major health concern in western countries. TV, video games and computers, has been a major cause of the lack of exercise, not to mention the increased fear of parents for children’s safety outdoors. I wonder, how did we ever survive our childhood?
How do you get children to walk more? A great way is to make walking part of a fun activity, a means to an end so to speak. If children know that a playground, a swimming pool, or an amusement of some kind awaits them at the end of a walk, they are more likely to enjoy it. (Remember to park further away from where you want to go, that will build anticipation to get to the destination, and sneak in some exercise in the process).
Walking will take you longer to get places but the benefits of a healthier life definitely outweigh the alternative!
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