Spring has arrived, and much like the trees we are budding with excitement over the warm weather and sunshine. As the weather continues to get nicer our motivation to be inside dwindles, along with the motivation to go to the gym. We want to be outside enjoying the short lived Minnesota summer, but we need to continue our healthy habits. The best way to enjoy our summer and stay healthy and active: walking.
Walking is not often thought of as great exercise. We think of it as a leisurely activity, a relaxing activity. However, walking is much more than that. Yes, walking is relaxing and a good way to ease our mind from the daily stresses of our lives, but it is also one of the best aerobic activities. It is easy on our joints, you can walk just about anywhere and it can be a group activity.
There are also many other benefits to walking. First off, it makes our heart stronger, and more efficient, which leads to better function of the other organs, and ultimately prevents the onset of disease. It also helps us lose or maintain our weight. Weight control is important also for fighting off disease or limiting the side effects of some diseases such as type two diabetes. Walking allows us to be outside in the fresh air, soaking up sun, and socialize with our friends and neighbors. This in turn releases endorphins into our brain which makes us happy and increases our energy levels. Finally, walking allows us to use and exercise multiple big muscle groups. The first muscle group would be our leg muscles, due to the very act of walking, but the second large muscle group we use while walking is our abdominal muscles. When we walk, we must focus on our posture as we encounter different terrain. Keeping good posture throughout the duration of the walk allows our abdominal muscles to contract at different angles and help support our backs.
As summer approaches remember that going to the gym is not always a necessity. Go outside and enjoy a long walk, remember that this too is an excellent exercise with many benefits. Walk your way into wellness.