Heart Health

Walking: The Fitness That Fits In | by James C Moore | Sep, 2021

Park paths are a good place for a walk

We walk like Chicagoans are expected to vote; early and often. We walk from our beds to our bathrooms in the morning to ready ourselves for the upcoming day. Later we walk out to our cars, the Ubers waiting for us or other sources of transportation that takes us to our jobs, classes and other destinations. Thereafter, we walk throughout the day.

This is a natural and repeated part of our daily routine. But for all the walking we do, we can and should do more. However most among us walk only to where and how far we must walk and no further. This is unfortunate given how good walking is for us.

People burn on average 200 calories per hour as they stroll at a casual rate (2–3,1/2 mph) on a flat surface. Moreover, it doesn’t even take the whole hour for walking to help. Women can reduce their risk of stroke by 20–40% by walking 30 minutes a day. It does a body good.

It is remarkable that the simple act of moving one step in front of the other at a steady pace can produce such good results. Walking alleviates heart disease, high blood pressure, i.e. hypertension, add years to our lives and improve brain function. The hike to Healthyville is made one step at a time.

The normalcy of walking makes it more compatible to our lifestyles than other arguably better forms of exercise. It provides more opportunity as to where when and how to exercise. In fact, it can be said with certainty that it walks over the competition when it comes to convenience.

Swimming offers enormous health benefits. It works the whole body in a low impact way for knees and ankles. And it likely provides the best combination of aerobic and strength building of any workout activity. However, this requires swim wear and water. To be safe it requires clean water. Also, it’s not a good ideal to swim alone. We only need outdoor clothing and sturdy comfortable shoes to walk.

Basketball and soccer along with other team sports may be thought of as more fun by most people. Games like these are certainly more socially engaging. Typically, though team sports need a place, time set aside and of course teams. The good old-fashioned walk is far more flexible.

Bicycles and skates are faster and provide aerobic benefits. However, equipment is needed, most notably bicycles and skates. Helmets and knee pads are helpful for safety concerns. A certain skill level is needed to remain safe biking and skating in busy urban and car centric suburban environments. Walkers only need the mix of outdoor clothing and good shoes.

The point is an exercise can only help when it can be- exercised. The opportunity to walk is much more available to us. The walking we can do is better for us than the other activities we cannot do for one reason or another. Walking is available and a good form of exercise. So why not literally as well as figuratively walk and chew gum when it comes to our fitness routine? After all, it is the fitness that fits in

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