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Why I Walk

January 31, 2011

"You know these winter walks have been a lot more comfortable since I started layering."

As a young child I didn’t much like walking.  Walking, just for the sake of going for a walk, represented to me the height of boring adult physical activity.  I much preferred the faster and more exciting pursuits of riding my bike, skateboarding, and running.  And if I was walking, it almost always had an end purpose in mind:  exploring the forest behind our house, getting to and from school or a friend’s house.  But walking just for its’ own sake?  Nah, not for me.

Skip ahead a few years… When I was nineteen I broke my ankle and I was on crutches for eight weeks.  For those of you who have had to use crutches you know that although it’s inconvenient, it’s not all that bad.  You learn how to adapt to getting around and as you become more comfortable you can even start to show-off your crutching skills to friends – I was able to “walk” for some distance without putting either of my feet on ground.  But the novelty quickly wore off and to my surprise I started to miss walking.  Not just the ability to get from one class to the other or back and forth between my car and the school.  I missed being able to go out for a walk just for the sake of a walk.  I missed not only the freedom to do so but also the simultaneous invigoration and relaxation that walking brought.

Now, years later, I fully appreciate and enjoy the benefits of walking.  Although walking can mean different things to each participant, here are some of main factors that make it a great activity.

Exercise – Our bodies are meant to move.  Regular physical activity keeps bones, muscles and joints strong and resilient.  Walking provides an enjoyable, low impact option to keep our bodies in motion.

Stress Relief – Going for a walk (especially outdoors) helps to calm the mind and redirects anxious energy into something productive and healthy.

Energy Boost – Studies have demonstrated that regular physical activity can increase our alertness and energy levels while reducing fatigue.

Participant Specific – Some of us enjoy the solitude of a lone walk while others enjoy it as a group activity.

User Friendly – Walking can be enjoyed by almost anyone, anytime, anywhere.  It is cheap to get started, it requires very little practice (right foot, left foot, repeat), and you can feel accomplished with each excursion.

For these reasons and more get out there and enjoy the benefits of walking.  If you’re looking for company a couple of great places in Guelph are the Guelph YMCA which hosts indoor starter walking groups and the Guelph Hiking Trail Club which goes on weekly excursions on surrounding nature trails.  If you would like more information on walking  and other healthy activities you can contact your Guelph Chiropractor at Clear Path Chiropractic Health Centre.

How has walking helped you?  What tips would you suggest for those just getting started or wanting to get back into it?

Photo credit:  LegOfenris

From → Healthy Activity

  1. Hi Dr. Mark,

    Our bodies are meant to move. I must always keep that in mind. 🙂

    I love walking, especially outside in my neighborhood. There’s nothing like being out in nature and taking in the fresh air.

    Have a great week!


  2. Anne permalink

    I really like this post. Sometimes when we are injured or unwell, we take for granted what it is like to feel well/normal and to be able to just go out for a walk.

    And, I like the point about it being free 🙂

    • Hi there,

      You’re right – losing that freedom to feel well and perform our normal activities of daily living is a challenge that most of us face at some time or another.

      Free is a great incentive for walking.

  3. Thanks Evelyn,

    And it doesn’t take much – ten or fifteen minutes a few times a week. Or just getting off the bus a couple of stops early. There are many ways to work it in.

  4. Emmy permalink

    Great points. Sadly I seem to benefit only from running outdoors, at a local path around a lake. Quite cold for that in New England, nevertheless I’ve managed to do so several times a week for years now.

    Walking does nothing for my mood. Nothing at all. YMCA, same thing no matter how long I’m on the treadmill. The snowy, outdoor terrain (aside from mountain biking) is the only way I can remain cheerful (and I do yoga on off days, but alone it’s not useful), I just thank goodness for all the protected outdoor places in our region!

    • Thanks for stopping by and chiming in.

      Variety is the spice of life and it’s true that not everything works the same for everyone. I see this frequently in practice. Some respond well to one treatment/activity while others respond well to another. The important thing is to find which combination works best for you.

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