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Let's Go for a Walk
Photo: Juan Almela
It's no secret that some of physical exertion, on a daily basis, is healthy for us no matter what our age. It enhances both our body and mind and helps lessen the dangers of stroke and heart attack.

A person could enroll in a group exercise class or buy expensive equipment. Biking and swimming are also excellent options. But there's one simple exercise we all can do that doesn't require high-tech equipment, a large bank account, or social involvement. Strap on a pair of comfortable walking shoes, and you're good to go.

Even weather is a nonissue. On stormy days, head for the mall or local civic center. You can even chart out a walking course in your own home, counting steps to measure a mile. (Figure on healthy pace as a yard. Stroll a collective 1,760 paces each day and you've covered a mile.)

Walking is something you can do each and every day. Whether you live in the city or country, it's available and very valuable.

Many Options

If you're not into long walks, you can get into the habit of walking during everyday routines. For example, when you arrive to the grocery store, don't circle the lot trying to park close to the front door. Head out a little ways where there's plenty of room to park, less chance of getting your car door dented, and space to pile on those paces.

If you live in a small town, walk to the post office for your mail. This will also give you the opportunity to rest on a park bench while you find out that Aunt Sarah's second cousin has finally gotten a job or that you may have won $12 million.

Need some daily walking encouragement? Get a dog. Nothing says “walk” like a pooch staring up at you with a leash dangling from its mouth. If you have children or grandchildren, remember, kids love to walk. This is a great opportunity to spend time with them and get your exercise to boot. Walking will, by your example, become a pleasure for them, helping to improve their future health and wellbeing.

Besides the physical rewards of walking, it's also a great way to relieve stress. If something is bothering you, or if you're trying to solve a personal problem, you'll be amazed at how walking inspires ideas and calms the troubled mind.

Words of Caution

Make sure you don't have an existing medical problem that would be aggravated by daily walking. Under such circumstances, your doctor will probably encourage you to start slowly and work your way up.

If you live in a city, head for safe places like public parks or protected sidewalks. And choose a time when there's the least amount of traffic tossing burnt fossil fuels in your face.

Slippery surfaces can present a problem, so select the safest route. Keep an umbrella handy on rainy days and a bottle of water with you on hot ones. Don't overdue. Even a short walk can be fun and healthy.

God gave us feet and legs for a reason. Make walking a part of your personal health plan starting today.

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By Tom Kovach. Reprinted with permission from Vibrant Life, May/June 2007. Copyright © 2007 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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