Put one foot in front of the other

Walking is considered one of the easiest forms of exercise, mostly because all you need is time and a comfortable pair of shoes. And walking just a half an hour a day can help you in practically all areas of your life, including those listed below. But don’t take our word for it – we’re also including comments from some of our friends on Facebook.

  • Strengthens Joints: Great Basin Orthopaedics’ Dr. Travis Kieckbusch explains, “Walking is a great low impact way to maintain muscle strength and joint health without placing joints under the stress that some other exercises create.” Facebook fan Christel H.  has found this to be true for herself. “Physically it helps reduce inflammation, burn a few calories, and keep my joints lubricated and stretched,” she says. “I personally believe all the walking I've done also helped me recover rather quickly from hip joint replacement last January.”

              Read: Are your joints begging you to lose weight?

  • Better Posture: When you walk, keep your chin up and look in front of you instead of down. Tighten up your core and keep your shoulders back. While this might seem unnatural at first, you’ll eventually strengthen your muscles so that you have good posture all day long. Jill M., who suffers from chronic pain, says, “I use walking to assess my posture, make sure that my alignment is good, and reinforce positive and structurally balanced muscular activity while I'm walking. It is my main form of exercise outside of Pilates and yoga.”
  • Weight Loss: Regular walking can improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat. Daily walking increases metabolism because it burns extra calories, but it also prevents muscle loss. “I love the feeling of having moved my body in the morning,” Sarah T. says. “I feel more enlivened in my skin.”

              Read: 10 effective strategies for managing chronic pain

  • Mood: Walking boosts endorphins in the brain, helps with weight loss and gives you additional vitamin D (since you’re outside), all of which help improve moods. “Walking in the forest surrounded by trees and singing birds refreshes and gladdens the mind, body and spirit,” shares Joseph G.
  • Lower Risk of Chronic Disease: The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Other research has shown that regular walking lowers blood pressure, which can reduce the risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease.
  • Socialization: Walking with a friend is a great way to stay connected, and it also keeps you both accountable. “I’ve been walking with my friend for 23 years. I love starting the day moving, sharing insights and seeking support as a start to my day,” Alison G. says.

              Read: 50 is the new 30: Staying young as we age

  • Better Looking Legs: Varicose veins are veins that have become enlarged or stretched out due to blood that pools in the legs. Exercise can increase your body’s ability to pump blood up the leg back toward the heart. It also helps keep your weight down, which further decreases your chances of getting varicose veins. If you already have varicose veins, walking can help ease swelling and restlessness.
  • Better Digestion: A regular walking routine utilizes core and abdominal muscles, which encourages movement in your gastrointestinal system. For those of us who can't jog or run (because of bad knees; joints; age) walking is a great exercise,” Patsy M. shares. “There are so many benefits from clearing the mind, to increased heart rate, to improved lung function and best of all, regardless of your pace, getting out and enjoying the beautiful scenery that surrounds us!”
  • Creativity: Unplugging from your electronics and allowing yourself to take in your surroundings is great for your brain and can help you solve that problem you’ve been pondering. Jeri C. shares, “I walk everywhere I can. I think it gives me a different perspective on the city. I get story ideas and get the benefits of keeping the muscles around my bad knee strong enough to support it.”
  • Different Perspective: Walking gives you a view of your neighborhood that you can’t get driving. As Leslie M. says, “When I visit a new place I try to walk as much as I can. I see so much more and feel like I experience it better than I can from a car. There is a lot more human interaction as well. I guess this applies to my own neighborhood just as well!”

If you don’t have time to walk every morning, you can work it into different parts of your day. You might take a walk around your office building in between projects or park further away and walk the difference. Three laps around the Reno Aces stadium equals a Healthy Mile, something GBO is proud to sponsor. Do that six or even nine times, and you’ve got your work-out in for the day.

If pain is keeping you from exercise and you’d like to review options to make you feel better, give GBO a call at 775-786-1600.