Research shows that women who walk three hours a week lower their risk of heart attack, coronary death and stroke by 34 to 35 percent. Where are my shoes? A woman who lives down the street from me walks six miles six days a week, and I recently met a man who walks two hours every day. Impressive! According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, walking increases bone density, manages the negative effects of osteoarthritis and eases back pain.
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and the Surgeon General recommend taking 10,000 steps a day which translates to about five miles. The pace of the walk should be between 90 and 110 steps per minute which is pretty brisk.
Not only does walking result in better health and a longer and fitter life, it also makes for a sunnier outlook. Walking, particularly when walking with good company and in pleasant surroundings, reduces depression and anxiety. Walkers also tend to be good sleepers.
As to what to wear for the daily walk, don a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. Your skin and your eyes will thank you for that protection! Comfortable shoes will keep your feet happy too.
Walking seems to have it all. Simple and natural, it doesn’t require any instruction or skill. It can be a very modest form of exercise or it can demand enough skill and intensity to be an Olympic sport. You can walk alone for solitude or with friends for companionship. You can walk indoors on a treadmill (not my favorite) or outside in the city or country, at home or away. You can get all the benefits of moderate exercise with a very low risk of injury. And to boot, walking is inexpensive. All things considered, Hippocrates was right: “Walking is a man’s (or woman’s) best medicine”.