The latest research warns us about the dangers of excessive sitting and its harmful effects.
Some of the benefits of getting out of the chair and walking include (The Trouble With Sitting Too Much) :
- Increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness.
- Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke.
- Improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes.
- Stronger bones and improved balance.
- Increased muscle strength and endurance.
- Reduced body fat.
Try to walk for at least 30 minutes as briskly as you can on most days of the week. ‘Brisk’ means that you can still talk but not sing, but you may be puffing slightly.
Our bodies tend to get used to physical activity, so continue to increase your intensity as you are able to improve your fitness levels. You can increase the intensity of your walks by:
- Walking up hills.
- Walking with hand weights.
- Increasing your walking speed gradually by including some quick walking.
- Increasing the distance you walk quickly before returning to a moderate walking pace.
- Walking for longer.
Try to make walking a routine. You use the same amount of energy, no matter what time of day you walk, so do what is most convenient for you. You may find that asking someone to walk with you will help make it a regular activity and gives the added benefit of social engagement. Nature walks, walks with children, walking your dog, family walks and walks with friends are all ways to make walking more engaging.
Although you’ve likely been walking since you were about one year old, there are specific techniques that can help you avoid injuries, make walking more enjoyable, and increase the health benefits of walking.
2 ways to prevent injuries when walking
Stand tall. Leaning forward or hunching over makes it more difficult to breathe and can cause backaches. To avoid this problem, extend your spine as if you were being lifted from the crown of your head. Place your thumbs on your lower ribs and your fingertips on your hips. As you stand tall, notice how the distance between your fingers increases.
Look up. Looking at your feet puts unnecessary stress on your upper back and neck. Bring your gaze out about 10 to 20 feet in front of you. You’ll still be able to see ahead and you’ll prevent upper-body tension.
The benefits of walking abound so take a hike to enjoy the fall scenery that surrounds us.