ever since we got our foster kids, i have tried to take regular walks, daily when possible. sometimes i walk and pray, sometimes i walk to church, the library, store or the park, sometimes i walk with alex to connect and talk about life and sometimes i walk while talking to a friend on the phone. whatever the purpose, i am coming to realize that walks are great for mental and physical health.
1. walks are a great form of exercise. back in the day when i was an avid runner, i scoffed at the idea of walking being considered exercise. but now i have come to realize that walking is actually one of the best forms of exercise: your heart rate doesn't get so high as to release cortisol, a damaging stress hormone (like it does while running), it increases your endurance and it is low impact on your joints. It is an especially great form of exercise during pregnancy. It is also easier than some other forms of exercise, making it less likely to be avoided.
2. walks help you focus. a walk in the morning can help you think through your plans for the day (dr. ron paul does this. yet another reason i support RON PAUL 2012!!! :) ). a walk in the evening can help you reflect back on how your day went. walking with another person helps you to focus on the conversation. walking while praying eliminates things (like the internet, housework, or television) that distract us away from praying. all of these things are great for our mental health, and walking expounds the benefits.
3. walking increases your vitamin d (which is made from sunlight), a vital nutrient for your health. doctors and scientists are now starting to realize that many americans are deficient in vitamin d, contributing to diseases such as cancer (especially skin cancer... ironic!) and general low immunity, leading to colds and flu (one of the reasons people get sick during dark winter months). they are even seeing a scary return of rickets in children (a disease previously thought to be wiped out in first world countries). to increase your vitamin d production, maximize your skin exposure to the sun during your walks and do not wear sun lotion. even though it is cold, walks are even more important in the winter, for this reason!
for these and many other reasons, i love to take walks! i always feel good when i am done.
how often do you take walks? what do you love about walking? what benefits have you seen in your life?