Babies take their first steps around their first birthday, after building leg and core strength and the ability to balance on one foot at a time. It is no small feat for small feet! Their determination to reach the open arms of family is applauded, cheered and praised. And from that step forward, we clock around two hundred million more steps in our lifetime.

Walking is medicine. It has been prescribed since the beginning of time as a cure for ailments of the body, mind and soul. In modern days, we have taken this ability for granted and replaced it with so-called conveniences, from the remote control to the escalator.  It’s time to go back to what comes naturally and harness the power of walking.

Benefits of Walking

  • Weight management
    • Harvard researchers found that walking briskly daily reduced 32 obesity-promoting genes. Weight reduction reduces heart disease.
  • Eases joint pain
    • If your joint discomfort is mild and there is no swelling present, walking will often ease pain and increase mobility.
  • Immune Booster
    • A study of over a 1000 people demonstrated that those who walked just 20 minutes a day, most days of the week, reported 43% reduction of colds and flu symptoms.
  • Increased metabolism
    • Exercise, like walking, helps people with diabetes lower their blood sugars by increasing sugar absorption to muscles and preventing high levels in the blood stream.
  • Improved Memory
    • A 10-minute walk can increase your brain’s connections and activity leading to better memory and quicker thinking.
Photo by Bruno Nascimento on Unsplash

How-To Tips for Effective Walking

  • Supportive shoes that have some cushioning
  • Socks that have air circulation and no holes or areas of thinning
  • Start easy but pick up your pace so that your speed is brisk
  • Vary your route every day to avoid overuse aches and pains
  • Brisk means you feel warm and have a light sweat
  • Try variable speed walking with fast, medium and slow paces
  • Listen to music with a cadence or beat of about 120 per minute
  • If walking with a friend, carry on light conversation, lots of talk will slow you down.

Walking Rules for our Times

If this is you…

  • You are not in self isolation due to recent travel
  • You are not in self isolation because of a known exposure to someone with a positive Covid19 test.
  • You are not having symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath

Green Light: You can walk outside with your house buddies, stay 6 feet or 2 metres away from others.

If this is you..

  • You have returned from travel either domestic or international in the last two weeks
  • You have symptoms of cough, fever, shortness of breath or any illness
  • You are in isolation because someone in your household or workplace has suspected or confirmed Covid19

Red Light: Your exercise should be indoors and if symptomatic, speak with your doctor for advice.

Photo by Tamara Menzi on Unsplash

Favourite Tunes for Walking

  • Celine Dion – I’m Alive
  • Laura Brannigan – Gloria
  • Fleetwood Mac – Don’t Stop Thinking about Tomorrow
  • Survivor – Eye of the Tiger
  • Lady Gaga- Bad Romance

Resources to Get you Started

Cleveland Clinic – Walking Your Way to Better Health
Canada Walks – Resources
The College of Podiatry – Walking Resources

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