Q: Mr. Pedometer, I know you probably have addressed this before, but could you please remind me why – given the hot weather of summer – I should get out and walk more?
A: Sure! The latest to chime in and advocate walking was AARP the Magazine, whose slogan is “Real Possibilities.” Their June/July edition’s “Healthy You” feature focused on answering the question, “Need fresh reasons or extra benefits to taking a stroll?” Here are the six they came up with:
The family-time walk – “You talk, laugh, debate, and sometimes just hold hands; all are healthy. So is engaging in outdoor activities together. Studies have found that a 20-minute walk can calm your overactive brain and restore your attention.”
The tree-hugger’s walk – “Researchers sent a group of walkers into a forested area, and another walkers group into a city, for an hour. After, the forest walkers had improved heart and lung function; the city walkers didn’t. The message: Nature walks can be healing.”
The meditation master’s walk – “If sitting on a pillow and chanting ‘om’ isn’t your thing, you can actually meditate while you walk. Numerous studies confirm meditation’s ability to ease high blood pressure, digestive challenges, anxiety, depression, and insomnia.”
The memory-booster walk – “Making walking a habit can preserve your memory. Researchers following up on 300 older adults after 13 years found that those who walked 6-9 miles a week lowered their risk of memory problems by 50 percent.”
The philosopher’s walk – “Walking is great for deep thoughts, but it provides other brain perks (memory boost aside). Adults who walked for 40 minutes three times a week slowed age-related declines in brain function and improved their performance on cognitive tasks.”
The socializer’s walk – Taking walks with friends is not just fun; it’s beneficial, too. One study showed that people who joined walking groups had lower blood pressure, reduced cholesterol, a lower resting heart rate, and more effective weight loss.”
Of course, Mr. Pedometer cannot resist noting that World Walk to Wellness falls firmly into the “socializer’s walk” category, so we can hope that those who join us on Saturday mornings will experience some (if not all) of the benefits listed.
Walking is good for your brain and the rest of your body, plus it is enjoyable, inexpensive, and available to most of us. We hope those reasons will convince you to take frequent outdoor walks – just not in the hottest part of the day. Early morning or after sundown can be good times to go for a stroll. Take a friend!