The Benefits Of Walking

people walkingIt has now been officially confirmed by the medical profession that walking or ambulation, in areas of greenery, trees and grass, actually lowers stress levels as well as lowering blood pressure levels

So positive are the results of this study that medical centers are now advising their patients to get out into the green parks and country-side and take 10,000 steps a day for maximum health benefits.

What greater incentive could you need?

Plus, if you need to get into better physical shape fitness wise and improve your lifestyle then you need to exercise to lose a few pounds, lower your blood pressure, reduce your stress levels and lower your cholesterol levels.

Whatever your need, good old ‘Shank’s pony or Shank’s mare’ offers the most gently non-invasive approach to better health than any other exercise other than perhaps Tai Chi.

Unlike Tai Chi you do not need to learn a long sequence of movements, the long Tai Chi sequence lasts for 20 minutes, with ambulation you simply get up and do it.

If you are starting out on a new adventure after a period of inactivity then do consult your medical practitioner first to ensure that it is safe for you to now start out and build new you.

Did you know that you use 200 muscles just to take one step so when you think about it walking is actually much more a very active recreation than people realize.

If you are starting out on a new adventure after a period of inactivity then do consult your medical practitioner first to ensure that it is safe for you to now start out and build new you.

Did you know that you use 200 muscles just to take one step so when you think about it walking is actually much more a very active recreation than people realize.

We all know that putting one leg in front of the other in a regular sequence of movements is nothing new. Man has been doing it for thousands of years ever since he learned to stand up on just 2 legs. But with his developing brain he soon became the dominant creature on earth with his ability to take on any terrain and using the power of reasoning the domination of the species was only a matter of time.

So if walking is a little unnatural to you then seriously start to give it some thought as a lifestyle change.

If it is new to you and you have not exercised for a long time or if you suffer from any medical condition then please consult your physician before embarking on this pleasurable exercise.

Perhaps one of the most famous walkers in modern times was Chaucer (1343-1400?) considered the father of Modern English is best known as the writer of ‘The Canterbury Tales’, which is a collection of stories told by fictional pilgrims as he traveled on the road to the cathedral at Canterbury.

Unlike today, there was very little alternative transport for the common man. It was a case of do it or stay where you were, or if you were lucky jump on a horse. But now we have become so reliant on transport to move us about we have lost the pleasure of this simple exercise.

With the changing times now resulting in us humans become much more sedentary we now have a whole host of illnesses that befall us, such as high blood pressure, increased stress,diabetes, high cholesterol count, premature osteoporosis, weight gain and a few more could easily be added to the list merely because we have become less active.

So before you set out have yourself a drink of water in order to hydrate your body. You can drink a cup of coffee if you want but the coffee is a mild diuretic so you will be wanting to have a pas water not long after you set off which is a nuisance.

Start off slowly and gently and aim to build up to walking for about 30 minutes daily 5 days a week. You can go to 7 days a week but be realistic about your goals.

New research suggests that the percentage of people who walk on a regular basis enjoy better health benefits which is what we want to achieve.

If it is weight loss that you are out to boost then walking will burn similar amounts of calories when compared to jogging.

When you step up to better health there is a strong possibility that you might become a little too motivated after a period of inactivity and suffer some pain and inflammation of both joints or muscles and it is for this reason that i strongly suggest that you do a few stretching exercises.

It is always worth checking your local directory to see if there are any  Bikram Yoga or Hot Yoga classes near you for that is a brilliant way to release the toxic lactic acid that builds up in the muscles and stretch your way to supreme health.

Naturally you are at liberty to go for the relative cheap anti inflammatory drug ibuprofen but far better to stretch the muscles before they become too tight and do keep them warm to lessen muscle damage.

So what is the ideal way to walk?

Just as we were told when we were kids. Head up shoulders back and tummy in… there nothing complicated about that was there but none the less very good sound advice especially so when climbing the stairs. If you go up the stairs this way and being conscious of not to lean forward you will begin to notice the muscles in the back of you legs tighten as you climb the stairs in upright position.

As an indication to the calorie used a 10.1/2 (150lbs) person traveling at a brisk pace of 4 mph will burn something like 370 in an hour or 260 at 3 mph so you can see that the brisker the walk the greater the calories burned walking briskly and that is almost the same as a jogger but less damaging to the joints.

Setting off on the flat? then keep your arms to the side and gently swing them back and forth as you march along. If you really get into the swing of things, pun intended, you might even get into power walking in which case you will hold your arms bent at 90 degrees at the elbow and swing them as you enter into a rolling gait but be aware this type of walking is extremely demanding on the hips and knees but an excellent calorie burner none the less and another one of the excellent joys of exercising out in the open air.

So what is the ideal way to walk?

Just as we were told when we were kids.

Head up shoulders back and tummy in… there nothing complicated about that was there but none the less very good sound advice especially so when climbing the stairs. If you go up the stairs this way and being conscious of not to lean forward you will begin to notice the muscles in the back of you legs tighten as you climb the stairs in upright position.

As an indication to the calorie used a 10.1/2 (150lbs) person traveling at a brisk pace of 4 mph will burn something like 370 in an hour or 260 at 3 mph so you can see that the brisker you move the greater the calories burned walking briskly and that is almost the same as a jogger but less damaging to the joints.

Why don’t you make use of our Map-My-Walk feature map page where you can plot your next or last walk all from the comfort of the armchair.

It costs nothing only fun time and you can explore the whole world in front of the computer before you get out there and enjoy the trip.

One hiking adventure that you really should plan to do at some time-or-other is to follow the trail along the South West Coast Path that follows the Devon, Cornwall peninsular of South West England. It is magical if nothing else and even if you only cover part of the route you will remember it for a long, long time

Go on, take a hike.

n.b. Additional information has come to light since this page was written highlighting even more the benefits of outdoor exercise.

A new study showed that early- Alzheimer’s patients who are more physically fit don’t exhibit the same brain shrinkage as other early-Alzheimer patients.

The study, led by the director of the Alzheimer’s and Memory Program at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, examined fitness tests and MRI brain scans on 57 people with early-stage Alzheimer’s and 64 people with no signs of dementia (all at least 60 years of age).

Public health advocates for Alzheimer’s patients and for senior citizens in general have done a lot of valuable work in raising awareness of the importance of physical fitness and vascular health

This work has serious implications for the billions of dollars pounds, Euros, yen that are spent on the care of people with Alzheimer’s and on the quality and independence of their lives. It’s a cruel disease for the patients and their family members anxious to do the right thing.

Lets all get out and about and be active and keep our brains active too

In an article on the ‘American Heart Association heart walk‘ web site they point out an obvious “- walk more, eat well and you will live longer.”

“It’s a fact, it’s been shown that you’ll gain about two days of life for each hour of regular exercise. You couldn’t find a better two-for-one deal if you tried!”

According to a report published October 2008 by researchers at the University of Illinois they took a group of 17 hyperactive children on three excursions in a park, town center and residential area.

The children had been on drugs such as Ritalin to control hyperactivity. The troubled children showed significant improvements in concentration levels after what researchers called ‘a dose of nature’. Walking among nature’s green.

Twenty minute exercising and running about in green surroundings gave improvements on a par or better than a daily dose of drugs for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.

Ritalin is one of three drugs recommended to treat ADHD. Side effects can include headaches, hallucinations, mood swings, insomnia, bleeding, decreased appetite and suicidal thoughts.

Ritalin is a methylphenidate – the same class of drugs as cocaine and amphetamines. It works by firing up the brain areas known to be involved with concentration and at the same time it decreases restlessness.

In the UK Ritalin and similar drugs have been linked to twelve deaths.

To me there is no contest. It has to be a good stroll, or promenade as the Spanish prefer, every time over taking drugs.

Who in their right mind would want to inflict such torture on a young defenseless child who has no say in the matter when a simple walk in nature would solve the problem and give even greater health benefit by filling their young lungs with fresh air and getting exercise to-boot.

The children in the trial who got their exercise in the greenest places showed the greatest improvements in attention as much or more than as when they took the drugs to control them.

Interestingly those who were taken for their exercises into town center or residential streets did not get any benefit.

The Health Benefits of Walking? I rest my case.

Read our walking gear guide here.