Active Aging

Walk your way to better health

This is the common issue faced by so many who are attempting to make a change in their lifestyle to become fitter, healthier, more productive - you name it!

happy senior couple walking with dog across wooden bridge in park

“Where do I start?”

This is the most common issue faced by so many who are attempting to make a change in their lifestyle to become fitter, healthier, more productive.. you name it!

Typically the solutions that are provided involve significant barriers to entry – that is to say, there are so many reasons compliance is challenging. It could involve cost, scheduling, access to equipment, complexity of material, etc.

Fortunately, one of the very best exercises you will ever have at your disposal is completely free, you can schedule it whenever you want, it can fit it into your day to get to other activities/work (‘stacking’ – more on this later!) and is either incredibly social or a chance to get some much needed alone time as you see fit.

What is this magical exercise?

Going for a walk. That’s it. No complex technique needed. No new equipment needs to be bought and it can completely change your entire physiological and mental state in as little as 20 mins. What’s not to like about that?

Just to provide some of the current scientific thinking around this topic, walking has been shown to:

  1. Increase heart and lung fitness – regular walks will make your heart pump blood more efficiently and positively impact your ability to progressively do more intense forms of cardiovascular training such as running, rowing, cycling, etc.
  2. Reduce risk of heart disease and strokes – studies are increasingly showing the lack of basic locomotion (walking) as a significant stressor for the body in terms of maintaining normal health parameters.
  3. Improve ability to manage stress, calm the mind and elevate mood. Walking can help manage issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and even diabetes. By improving these key lifestyle health risk factors you can reduce significant stressors on the mind.
  4. By building better bone density and improving balance you can also change the nature of joint and muscular pain, further adding to your elevated mood.

So with the burgeoning evidence of the benefits of walking, you’d think you couldn’t improve upon it at all – but you can!

Young family holding hands and walking in forest

By stacking the walk with some simple joint circles you can further enhance the joint and muscular range of motion in your body – a simple way would be to roll your shoulders back and forth as you walk. At a red light while you wait, lift up and down on your toes. Get creative and check out our videos on joint rotations for more ideas!

By walking with friends and in forests, parks and nature in general you also get the added benefit of social reinforcement, a beautiful, clean-air environment in which to connect some deep breathing and laughing into getting fit and healthy – win/win!

As you get more into your walks and it becomes easier and easier you can even connect some simple exercises into the walk, adding some strength and mobility work into this simple but wonderful package. We will soon be sharing an article showing you our favourite parks in Vancouver to visit and how to use the exercise equipment once you are there!

So what are you waiting for – get those shoes on, pick a route (ideally taking in some beautiful B.C. nature but don’t stress if you can’t just yet) and get to steppin’!