May 30th, 2019
With the stresses of a busy, modern life on the increase, scientists believe that enjoying a bracing walk that will blow the cobwebs away could certainly inspire a happy mind and a healthy body.
“If I could not walk far and fast, I think I should just explode and perish” said English novelist and philanthropist Charles Dickens, who was a great champion of the art of walking. It is claimed that he regularly walked twenty miles in a day, and it’s likely that many of his greatest literary tales and observations were first pondered during his lengthy ambles across the breadth of Victorian London and its industrious streets.
Perhaps Dickens was ahead of his time because today, many experts believe that a brisk walk can be the cure for many ills; not least over-indulgence, work stress and the winter blues. So, pull the walking boots from the back of the cupboard, dust off the maps and head out for a breath of fresh air.
Daniela Corno (feeeimages.com)
Heal the Heart
It has long been known that regular exercise is the key to optimum health, but many experts now believe that a brisk walk provides as much of a work out as running, jogging, cycling or swimming. Regular walking at a brisk pace (between 3 and 4 miles per hour) can reduce the risk of heart disease, help to reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure and it can also help to increase bone density and strength which could help to prevent osteoporosis. Walking is also great for flexibility, co-ordination and general fitness, and of course, regular exercise helps greatly with weight control.
Heal the Soul
“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right” proclaimed G.M. Trevelyan, the famous British historian. It may have been a radical statement, made before our age of medical advances and miracles, but it has been proved correct again and again, and we now know that walking isn’t only good for physical health.
The Mental Health Foundation claims that exercise is one of the best treatments for depression and could help with other mental illnesses. Regular exercise is believed to boost mood-enhancing chemicals, endorphins, in the brain and so lift our spirits and make us feel happier and more content.
And not only that, but regular activity has also shown to be a major factor in beating one of the most common side effect of modern life. Stress, if not recognised and tackled, can contribute to a multitude of illnesses, and sadly, in our fast paced world, it’s something most people experience; some almost regularly.
But health experts all agree that something as simple as a walk can alleviate stress and all its negative side-effects – mainly because it helps to step away from the source of annoyance. It’s difficult to be stressed while you’re enjoying beautiful views, bracing scenery or a brisk walk through the park.
If you’re new to walking, the Ramblers recommend short walks along flat and easy to negotiate paths before you build up to longer walks with ascents, hills and sharper gradients. A short walk of about one and a half to two miles is a good distance to start.
According to The Ramblers, Britain’s walking charity, taking regular walks has been found to:
- Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- Lower blood pressure
- Reduce high cholesterol and improve blood lipid profile
- Reduce body fat
- Enhance mental well being
- Increase bone density, hence helping to prevent osteoporosis
- Reduce the risk of cancer of the colon
- Reduce the risk of non insulin dependent diabetes
- Help to control body weight
- Help osteoarthritis
- Help flexibility and co-ordination hence reducing the risk of falls