Walking for Health

Is walking Good for your Health???

“For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity a week. Physical activity can be spread throughout the week. The guidelines also recommend strength training exercises of all the major muscle groups at least twice a week. As a general goal, aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day. If you can’t set aside that much time, try several 10-minute sessions throughout the day. Remember, though, it’s OK to start slowly — especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly. You might start with five minutes a day the first week, and then increase your time by five minutes each week until you reach at least 30 minutes”. (Thanks to the Mayo Clinic for this item)

I have recently started walking again and had forgotten just how much I used to enjoy it. Living in a different part of the country now, I have discovered a local landmark area that is perfect for this activity. The Karangahake river gorge has beautiful walks, (for me) and small mountainous  areas, which my son and his friends enjoy running through. (Definitely not for me). I am aiming for an hour walk three days per week, some through the gorge, some around my local streets.

At the close of yesterday’s walk, my legs were aching a bit and I had worked up a fine sweat as I tried not to slow below a brisk effort. By the time I reached the steep hill (uh, uh, gentle incline) leading toward my home, my steps were no longer as brisk. But, once I was inside with the kettle on for coffee, breakfast and a large glass of water, I felt tired, but really good. And happy.

Needless to say, I have begun researching the benefits. Not of exercise as such, but actually of walking. 

Almost everyone has heard, read, watched etc., that exercise is good for the body and mind, but I wanted to check on walking, (for those who when they start find themselves unable to do more than that). When I first started a few years ago, I was grossly overweight without the energy to even think about ‘exercise’. But what I could manage was a walk to my local village and back. about 20 minutes all up, which was all I could manage and even that small effort was exhausting. But I met friends on my walk or back in my street and after a few days I began to feel better about myself. Eventually I also began to feel my clothes becoming looser.

This was over three years ago and from this very small beginning I am now actively looking for ways to extend my walks beyond the hour I am currently achieving. But more importantly, I’m feeling good about myself and looking forward to reaching the goal I set for myself a little over a year ago. In fact, this morning I thought that while I won’t be silly about it, trying for more than the three hour walks per week I am currently managing, there is no reason why I can’t take a shorter walk on the other four days. There is a 20 minute walk close to my home that I can easily do even if the weather isn’t too good. It gives a downhill AND uphill section so it’s not just a stroll to the post-box and back.

More benefits from the Mayo Clinic post for example are  that 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

And that the faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits.

There is so much more research that can be (and will be) done in coming days and weeks which, given my pleasure in that part of my posts, will certainly be no hardship for me.

So – Onward and Upward – and to your own goal achievements.

If you would like to let me know how you’re doing, email me on hilary@hilaryagreen.com – or – gosportgal@gmail.com, I would love to hear from you.

Have a great weekend.