Why I walk more than I run.
For the longest time, I have always had a need to be outside. Whether it was to play, or just get a fresh breath of air. Little did I know that this habit would soon become one of the greatest therapies I could ever have for my mental health. The world goes at a rate of knots sometimes. One moment you are awake at 5/6am and next thing you know its 1pm! For those of you who work office hours, that may not apply to you unless there is a looming deadline and time just flies, but for most of us time may drag on, but the chaos remains consistent.
Walking for me is a type of meditation that really bring balance to my life in many ways. Some days I do spend in doors, but most times I just love to get out there and be in the sunlight. I can walk comfortably up to 20km without feeling too worn out. Yes I am not exaggerating! Ask my pedometer. A lot of you have seen me walking around through parks, trails and the streets with my headphones on and just looking ahead. There is nothing weird about it, I just love doing it. My fitness is a great advantage as I can endure long distances and recover as fast as after a normal training session, but what I have had trouble doing is explaining to people why they should try it. Now I understand safety is a great concern and I truly advise being cautious about the route you take when you walk and make sure you are walking through areas that have high visibility and public foot traffic and make sure it is always during the day!
For me it is a therapy/ from of meditation for others it could be a great way to pass the time and get healthy. If you find running too much work and strain on your joints, walking is a great way to substitute that into your progression to all-round fitness. Here are some of the benefits of walking:
- Walking helps to improve your heart health. Irish scientists have reported that walking is the best exercise for sedentary individuals, especially adults, to reduce the risk of heart and cardiovascular diseases, in another study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, scientists confirmed that men and women of 65 years of age or older, who walked for at least 4 hours every week, were at less risk of cardiovascular disease.
- Walking is a great exercise and helps you lose weight. American scientists designed an experiment where obese patients walked together (a concept known as the ‘walking bus’) to their destinations in and around the city. After 8 weeks, their weight was checked, and more than 50% of the participants lost an average of 5 pounds(2.26kg’s) Therefore, it might be a good idea to start walking to and from your nearby destinations, instead of driving your car.
- Walking can also help lower blood pressure. Researchers from Wakayama Medical College, Japan conducted an experiment on individuals with mild hypertension, where 83 participants walked 10,000 steps per day for 12 weeks. At the end of 12 weeks, they showed a significant drop in blood pressure and increased stamina. Even if you are unable to complete 10,000 steps per day, you should walk for at least 60 minutes every day to keep your blood pressure levels in check.
- Believe it or not, walking can actually increase your intelligence. Walking helps to supply the brain with the required amounts of oxygen and glucose, which helps it function better. It also decreases the levels of LDL cholesterol, which clogs arteries, and hence reduces the risk of stroke. So, walking can help improve blood circulation, which helps the brain and cellular functions.
I could drone on more and more on my research but these are just a few of the many benefits of walking. Give it a go sometime. Find a park or trail and go for it. If I bump into you on the road, don’t be afraid to say hi.