Walking Is So Good For You

Something as simple as walking seems so easy until ailments and illnesses literally “knock you off your feet” and you start to struggle with walking. There is a great deal of research that has been conducted over the years about adding exercise into our daily lives to help us live longer and be more healthy.  For the most part we have an idea that a daily exercise regime has to be some kind of action like lifting weights in the gym or taking part in an aerobic exercise class. The list on offer for the elderly residents of my local pensioners hall includes yoga, tai chi, mobility and movement and Zumba! of all things.

Image:Flickr-David Hodgson

However, to go from perhaps a more sedentary way of life towards living more of an active lifestyle is too big of a jump for some people, especially if they are not used to exercise, so they stay how they are. I believe that is a mistake, because something as easy as walking isn’t particularly stressful for the joints, and also when taken outdoors or with a group can provide many benefits.

I could list all the many healthy reasons to take up a daily walk of half an hour, or perhaps two fifteen minute walks, but I will leave it to George Halverson, the CEO of Kaiser Permanente – one of the world’s largest health insurers, to give you the facts. It’s in his interest that you live more healthy, heal quicker after illnesses and generally enjoy life more as his company will have less claims, but it’s in your interest to take just a couple of minutes to hear what he has to say about the benefits of walking.

Arthritis and Walking

The elderly or retired with arthritis might think that starting a walking programme might be too difficult or painful, especially if they try to do it by themselves.  But there are exercises to limber up before you begin, especially designed for those with Arthritis.  For example by clicking here you will find exercises for foot pain, while here you will find a PDF to download with knee pain exercises on it. These have been produced by Wolverhampton Primary Care Trust and approved for use by those with Arthritis by the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Beginning a Walking Programme – Walking for Health

According to the NHS it is one of the easiest ways to get healthier, and best of all it’s free.

“Regular walking has been shown to reduce the risk of chronic illnesses, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, stroke and some cancers.” Source:www.nhs.uk

See the map below for Healthy Walks in the West Midlands area.  They are all free to participate in and often are organised by Age UK or other charities.  If you live outside that region you can go to their website to see walks in your own area.

Walking for Health Walks

Dog walkers

Image:Flickr-Ben Salter

Do you go walking or hiking? Have you joined a walking for health group? Have you retired and walked a long distance footpath as a challenge in your retirement? Let us know in the comments.