Walking: First Steps to Good Health

WELLENSS--Walking has always been celebrated. From the time a baby takes that first step everything changes. There is more independence, freedom, and the added benefit of exercise. As adults, walking still offers all the benefits it once did. 

Cardio is good for us. We all know that. The problem with cardio that is designed to get the heart pounding by bringing it up to 70 to 85 percent of the heart rate max is that it’s difficult and it can be discouraging for a lot of people. While it’s very healthy and great if one is training hard or preparing for a competition, for the average person that may be a little out of shape, or for older adults, intense cardio feels overwhelming and causes many people to get discouraged and simply stop doing it. 

The solution to this problem is walking. Simply walking is much better than doing nothing at all, and studies show that people that walk are far healthier than their sedentary counterparts. Besides the great health benefits, people that aren’t as inclined to rigorous exercise will be less likely to be intimidated by exercise if they walk.  

Another factor is that intense cardio can bring with it the risk of injury. Brisk walking is far less likely to cause any injuries or strains compared to intense cardio. Because walking is considered a more moderate exercise, the American Heart Association calls for people to do 30 minutes of walking five times each week to prevent cardiovascular disease. 30 minutes of walking a day may sound like a long time, but for those people training with intense cardio each day, they have to warm up and cool down adding time. In addition, after very intense cardio most people are going to need a shower right away. It’s possible with brisk walking that one can do this on their lunch hour and still work the rest of the day without having to cool down and shower.  

The best way to add walking to your life is to build in a daily walk routine. The biggest obstacle to exercise is work and children. Waking up a little earlier and going for a brisk walk is an excellent way to clear the head and can also be considered a moving meditation. Early morning when it’s peaceful outside and the kids are still sleeping may be just what the doctor ordered. This can be challenging at first, once it becomes a part of the daily routine, it no longer feels like a burden. 

By walking or doing some other form of exercise each day we are improving our quality of life while extending it. For anyone suffering from the blues or feeling depressed and down in the morning, a brisk walk is even more important.  


(Christian Cristiano is an acupuncturist in LA, TV host of Wellness for Realists and writes on wellness regularly for CityWatch. Christian can be reached at 310.909.6956 twitter: @CristianoWFR)