Can walking really improve your health? It seems almost too simple. There’s no special gear, no high intensity sweat like we see on TV advertisements for expensive fitness equipment. Can regular walking really make a difference in your overall health and wellbeing?
Consider these results from the Harvard School of Public Health[i]:
“People may think that walking is not as effective as higher-impact workouts. Yet a large cohort study of runners and walkers found that after 6 years of follow-up, when expending an equal amount of energy, moderate-intensity offered similar benefits as higher-intensity running in reducing the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.”
Walking just 30 minutes a day increases hearth health, strengthens bones, builds balance and muscle. But it doesn’t just benefit us physically, it benefits us mentally as well. The way we live our lives has a direct influence on them both. A daily walk is linked to better sleep, reduced risk of depression and higher levels of happiness and self-esteem.
The Mayo Clinic cites the following benefits of regular walking[ii]:
- Maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat
- Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer and type 2 diabetes
- Improve cardiovascular fitness
- Strengthen your bones and muscles
- Improve muscle endurance
- Increase energy levels
- Improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep
- Improve your balance and coordination
- Strengthen immune system
- Reduce stress and tension
How do I walk in the winter?
Finding places to walk outdoors is easier in the summer, where local parks, trails, pathways and sidewalks are all convenient. But in the colder months, many of those places become slippery or difficult to navigate. Our Walk Fit program opens up our comfortable, climate-controlled arena facilities to provide a flat, steady surface to walk.
Perhaps even more importantly, the Walk Fit program is completely self-guided. This means you can be you! Move at your own pace in a safe place, whether you’re on your feet, using a walker, walking slowly or at a faster pace. There are also fitness stations along the path with exercise bands that provide the option to increase the intensity of your workout.
Make it social
Participate alone or with a friend, it’s up to you! Sometimes it’s tricky to find a group activity that’s both social and physically active. Walk Fit is well suited to walking and talking – come with a friend or make new ones along the way! Every step you take brings you closer to better physical and mental health.
Join Walk Fit
Walk Fit is affordable, at under $35 per year for an annual pass. To learn more, visit our website at haltonhills.ca/ActiveEasy or give us a call at 905-873-2600. ext. 2275.