It’s true that good, old-fashion walking may lack the pizazz of a exercise studio, or the new “hot yoga” that’s so popular. It certainly doesn’t involve fancy equipment or clothes. You don’t pay dues to belong to a nice climate-controlled club with machines and a sauna.
But for some of us, the non-necessity of all of those things is a big plus. Walking allows you to simply do what your body was was originally designed to do–move! Walking is the way people have gotten from one place to the next since the Garden of Eden. It offers many of the benefits of running, without danger to your joints or requiring you to train.
It’s simple to get started. Find a decent pair of tennis shoes that offer you some arch support and heel cushioning, and head out the door.
I love to use the free app on my iPhone with the red heart and the word “Health” under it. It keeps track of both walking and running distance, and stairs. The rule of thumb is to set a goal of 10,000 steps a day, but working in 30 minutes of walking–done over (3) 10-minute walks, or all at once–is your first goal.
It can be your only goal, too, in order to reap the benefits mentioned in the last email: a 50% reduction in the recurrence of breast cancer when coupled with 5 servings of fruits and vegetables.
For me, the benefits are well-worth the effort. How about you?
Additional Benefits of Walking
What are other benefits of walking?
- You can do it almost anywhere in any kind of weather.
- Walking helps to strengthen muscles and bones.
- Reduces your risks of dying from any cause.
- Helps you achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduces stress.
- Helps you breathe more deeply.
- Can be social when done with a friend.
- Brightens your mood by increasing the endorphins circulating in your body.
- Breaks a snacking cycle by getting away from the food tempting you.
- A form of free transportation to places you want to go that are within walking distance.
For variety, try walking in a park, a different neighborhood, downtown if your city has one, over your lunch break at work, to school and back with your kids, in the woods…anywhere with nice scenery! Many malls open early for walkers who wish to walk inside in a climate controlled environment.
If you have a dog (or two) to walk, you both benefit from twice a day walks.
What about Stretching?
At the recent cancer retreat I attended, two different instructors came in the morning to lead us in some simple stretches. Here were some great take-aways for your benefit:
- Do 4 simple stretches before getting out of bed. Lying on your back, bend your knees with feet remaining on the bed. Simply lay your knees on the right side and then the left for a gentle low back stretch. Repeat.
- Roll to your side, and gently rise to a seated position at the side of the bed. Gently reach one arm at a time above your head and gently stretch. Repeat on the other side. Do several times.
- Rising up to an upright position, incline one ear down toward the shoulder area and repeat on the other side.
- Last, bend over gently, and hang your head down between your knees, gently stretching toward the floor.
All stretches should be done gently, without forcing. When you’ve been up for a few minutes but before exercising or getting dressed for work, try this silly but effective way to loosen up. I call it the shake, rattle, and roll! Shake any or all parts of your body at will, trying to individually shake your hands, feet, your bottom, arms… anywhere you can gently shake. This always makes me laugh at the silliness I feel, and that’s a great way to get my blood flowing in a good way every morning!
Happy, Healthy Stretching!
Suzanne Bonner, Author
Thriving in God’s Love:
Seven Powerful Steps to Heal Body, Soul, and Spirit After Breast Cancer
“But I am like an olive tree, thriving in the house of God. I will always trust in God’s unfailing love.” Psalm 52:8 (NLT)