Health, Fitness & Lifestyle Nigeria

Walking your way to health

Walking Your Way to Health

We walk without thinking, planting one foot in front of the other? Walking does much more than just increase your heart rate and burn calories — it’s not only good for the heart, it’s good for the soul. Walking can lift your spirits. Paying attention to where and how you walk has added benefits too — it reduces stress and enhances your overall sense of well-being.

A great way to deal with tension, relieve anxiety, or disperse pent-up emotions is taking a walk outdoors. As you go along, explore your environment and focus on the details of your surroundings instead of your worries. Use your senses to embrace what you see, hear, smell, and touch.

Try activating each sense purposefully — by examining an architectural detail, really listening to a bird, whiffing fresh-cut grass, and feeling the texture of bark. (You could even savour fruit while you walk and get all 5 senses in gear at once!) At the same time, concentrate on your breathing and breathe deeply… in and out. Count each time you exhale; once you reach 10 exhalations, start over.

To see if your posture is the best it can be, check yourself in the mirror. You want to stand tall, as if you were a puppet with a string coming from the top of your head, pulling it in and upward. Imagine a vertical line going down your side through the ear lobe, shoulder, hip, back of the knee cap, and front of the ankle bone.


As you start to walk, your feet should be shoulder to hip width apart, parallel and pointing forward. Once you gain speed, strength, and balance your feet will naturally get closer together as if you’re walking nearly on a straight line. With each step your foot should hit the ground heel first, at a 45 degree angle. As the heel strikes, roll forward and push off with your toes, not the ball of your foot.

Health benefits associated with walking include:

Walking burns almost as many calories as jogging
Walking eases back pain
Walking slims your waist
Walking lowers your blood pressure
Walking reduces the level of bad cholesterol
Walking reduces the risk of a heart attack
Walking enhances stamina and energy
Walking decreases anxiety and tension
Walking improves muscle tone
Walking is easy on your joints
Walking reduces your appetite
Walking increases aerobic activity
Walking slows osteoporosis bone loss
Walking can be done anywhere, such as when you’re traveling

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