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Walk… Just for the HEALTH of it!

Without a doubt, walking is a great low-impact exercise, providing a myriad of health benefits for people of all ages and fitness levels. Virtually everyone can walk; adults, children, even pets. Walking is free and fits into just about any lifestyle, culture and domestic circumstance.

Proper posture will optimize the benefits of walking and minimize the potential for injury. To achieve proper posture, stand up straight (do not lean forward or back). Keep chest out and shoulders back and down to avoid stress on the back. Focus eyes 20 feet forward and chin up (parallel to the ground) to avoid stress on the neck. Develop a habit of checking posture often, as slouching can occur.

A confident stride can increase the benefits of a routine stroll. Arm motion can burn 5-10 percent more calories and acts as a balance to leg motion. For optimal results, keep arms at 90 degrees and close to the body. Hands must be loose and in a partially closed curl, avoiding clenched fists. With each step, the arm opposite the forward foot comes straight forward, not diagonally. The forward hand should not cross the center point of the body and must stay just below the breastbone. As the foot goes back, the opposite arms comes straight back. If adding the arm motion is tiring at first, continue walking, rest the arms, and try again in 5 minute intervals.

The intensity of walking for health benefits varies according to age and fitness levels. Brisk is often best. To determine what “brisk” is, walk fast without overexertion and be sure you can carry on a conversation. Walk with a friend, family member, a pet, or even alone. It’s a great opportunity to reflect upon the day’s events or to prepare the next.

Walking – Reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, colorectal cancer, type II diabetes, and osteoporosis.
Walking – Lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, and body fat.
Walking – Enhances mental health and self-esteem.
Walking – Improves circulation, sleep quality and longevity.
Walking – Relieves symptoms related to PMS, depression, anxiety, and stress.


Written by Brooks Juneau

October 1, 2005 at 6:58 pm

Posted in Exercise

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