28 Dec Walk more: a simple way to improve your health
For most Canadians, the single best thing they can do to improve their health is simple. Walk more! In fact, if every Canadian resolved to take more steps every day, we’d be a happier, healthier nation, and we’d save a bundle on health care costs. Perhaps the best part is that walking requires no special equipment, no expensive gym membership, and can be done almost anywhere – even the pool. Walkers control their own workouts: distance, speed and terrain are up to each individual. If you’re new to exercise, or haven’t been active in a while, get the green light from your physician or a health professional.
Because I’m always interested in getting the most from my workouts, including daily walks with my dog, it made sense for me to add Nordic walking poles to walking routine. Nordic walking burns 20-45% more calories than regular walking; engages arm, core and back muscles while building core strength; and engages 90% of the muscles in the body as opposed to 40% with regular walking.
But fret not, whether you walk with or without poles, taking more steps can add up to big gains in one’s health, happiness and overall well-being. It’s no wonder many physicians are handing out prescriptions for one of the most potent drugs available – exercise.
Strive to take at 10,000 or more steps per day, but remember that every step you take offers health benefits. Start slowly and ramp up gradually, there’s no shame in this approach. Once you’re out the door and on your way, consider challenging yourself with power walking intervals, hill walking, longer distances, poles, or a faster overall pace.
Research proves a commitment to regular walking can help:
- Prevent heart disease
- Reduce the risk of stroke
- Lower blood pressure
- Manage stress
- Lead to better posture
- Maintain healthy cholesterol levels
- Reduce the risk of many cancers
- Boost bone density
- Improve our mental health
- Save us time and money
- Reduce vehicle congestion and emissions
- Give us more energy
- Reconnect us with nature
- Make us happier