Walking towards health

As we get a little deeper into spring, the days are warming up, the sun stays out longer in the evenings, and the outdoors beckon. It’s a good time to shake off the last vestiges of that winter urge to hibernate, and get into motion. Our bodies aren’t made to sit still all the time!

Walking is the perfect way to honor our need to move. 

Most people don’t walk enough. The average person takes between 3,000 and 6,000 steps a day, or roughly half of the recommended number of 10,000. It’s easy to get stuck behind a desk or the wheel, or to seek refuge in the comfort of the couch when the day is winding down. But too much time sitting causes our bodies to stagnate, and may lead to any number of health problems, including heart disease and diabetes.

The Mayo Clinic says regular brisk walking can help you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles.
  • Improve your mood.
  • Improve your balance and coordination.

Read the whole article, Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health

What I want to focus on is the joy that walking brings.

Being outside is an opportunity to experience the marvelous. Taking a morning or evening walk (or both!) means getting to see the sky, hear the birds, and feel the living presence of the world all around us. We get to take a step back from the affairs of the day, and relax into our bodies. We get to practice just being. This can be really fun! And read about the marvelous improvements walking in nature can bring to your brain the The New York Times Well Blog article, How Walking in Nature Changes the Brain.

A lot of us struggle with maintaining (or beginning) a regular exercise routine, but walking is different. It’s not so much exercise as a part of our birthright as human beings. Walking is for all of us, young, old, or somewhere in the middle. And we can do it together--walking with friends or loved ones is a recipe for joy!

As we move forward into the heart of spring, reward yourself by getting out into it and stretching your legs. Try walking for twenty or thirty minutes a day to start, whether around your neighborhood or out in nature. See how you feel as you get closer to those 10,000 steps a day. 

Breathe in the fresh air, listen to the birds, and let the sun warm your face!