The Wonderful Benefits of Walking

Walking briskly is the most efficient exercises we can do and is an exercise that can be done daily for our entire lifespan. Walking briskly can be a truly life-changing habit for achieving a trim, fit, and healthy body. And the benefits of walk don’t end there!

A recent study showed that walking lowers the risk of heart disease as much as doing very vigorous exercise. The study provided evidence that both brisk walking and heavy exercise for at least 30 minutes a day lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease by 30-40%. The study also showed that if a person walked briskly for at least 3 hours a week they could lower the risk for stroke, type-2 diabetes and breast cancer. Simply by walking without pain! This proves to me that exercise does not have to be painful, uncomfortable or extremely strenuous to be effective.

Some other benefits of walking

  • Walking burns calories and helps people lose weight and burn excess body fat. The average person walking briskly will burn off about 400-500 calories an hour. This relates to about a one pound weight loss every two weeks if you walk for an hour a day every day.
  • Walking requires no special equipment or gym membership.
  • Walking can help lower blood pressure and help prevent circulatory problems.
  • Walking helps improve your posture.
  • Walking is much safer than running or even jogging and will give you the same benefits but with much less risk of injury.

Heck, it even fights cancer! Another study published in The Journal for Cancer Research showed that walking – not drugs, not surgery, not radiation – could be a major player in improving prostate cancer outcomes. It showed that men who walked briskly for at least three hours a week delayed the rate of progression by 57% when compared to men who walked at an easy pace for fewer than three hours a week.

Pole Trekking Benefits

Walking with trekking poles has some further advantages. The results from a study by the Cooper Institute in Dallas showed that walking with poles significantly increases oxygen and energy consumption. Other studies I’ve read indicate that walking with poles increases calorie burning by 30-40%. This relates to a weight loss of one pound every 10 days or so with regular treks. Based on my own experience, I can tell you why more calories are burned. You get a great core and upper body workout by using poles and I’ve noticed much improved muscularity and definition in my shoulders and arms, especially the triceps.

Another big benefit for me, which I think many seniors will also appreciate, is the increased stability the poles offer when walking downhill. The trail I walk every day is hard packed with lots of small stones. I’ve saved myself from quite a few falls by having the poles to help maintain my stability. They also cushion my knees and cause less strain on them going downhill. I won’t walk my trail without them.

Moving Meditation

For me, one of the main benefits of walking is that it helps me quiet my mind and gather, and organize my thoughts. Walking to me is like a moving meditation. I use my walking time to plan my day and tell myself positive affirmations about how I want my day and life to go. I also use my time walking to solve problems. This has been well-known for a long time. The Greeks had a phrase for it called “Solvitur Ambulando”, which translates to it is solved by walking.

We are really blessed to live in an area with such wonderful weather and the hilly terrain that makes the walks more challenging. Even on the hottest summer days I’m able to walk my pups in the cool early mornings – something I couldn’t do most summer days when we lived in Texas. Having a dog makes walking even better. Your pup will love you for it! Even on the occasional day when I don’t feel up to the hike, my pups let me know they want to go – and I can’t let them down.

Walk – and live a longer, stronger and a healthier life.

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