Walking is man's best medicine....Hippocrates

Walking is indeed the ultimate medicine. It should be number one on your exercise program. There is overwhelming evidence that it can reduce incidence of heart disease , diabetes, cancer, stroke and other killer diseases. You will live longer and get mental and spiritual benefits as well as just feel good.

Walking for health is not just a leisurely stroll but a concentrated effort to improve the general condition of the entire body. If you are going to raise your heart rate as suggested in the exercise segment you have to pick up the pace.

Tips for Optimum Physical Benefit

You might want to get a good pedometer so that you can record your sessions. You will have to calibrate it for your own stride. I actually like to use a hand held GPS which tells you exactly how far you have gone and time elapsed with no calibration requirements.
  • Pace: The military marching standards are a great guideline for pace. Regardless of height or weight it is 120 steps per minute. In other words your left foot hits the ground every second. You will probably find that this is faster than normal for you but it is a good goal.
  • Stride: Again the military march is a good guide. It is thirty inches. This is probably ideal for someone who is 5'8" or 5'9". You will want to determine your own stride according to your height. I am 6'2" and take about a 35 inch step. If you are 5'1" you may take about a 25" step.
  • Duration: If you are just starting a program you may want to ease into it at ten or fifteen minutes at a time. Ultimately, twenty minutes at your established pace and stride is the absolute minimum. Thirty minutes is ideal. I try to do a half hour in the morning and another twenty minutes later in the day.

Some fitness experts suggest walking 10,000 steps a day. At 120 thirty inch steps per minute that is about 4.75 miles and over an hour and twenty minutes. That's more than I want to do but will definitely have very positive effects on total wellness.

Obviously you will want to have good shoes and comfortable clothing. If your feet get sore or tired in the beginning, you might want to pamper them a little. Even though I have no foot problems, I like to soak my feet in warm water with Epsom salts a couple of times a week just because it makes them feel good. I also think it is healthy to go barefoot as much as possible.

Finally, here is a measurable benefit. I tend to have slightly higher than normal blood pressure. Many times I have recorded my blood pressure before and after walking. I rest about a half hour before recording the after. It is consistently 10 to 15 lower on the systolic and 5 to 10 lower on the diastolic. Fifteen minutes of meditation will help to lower it even further. On the other hand, skipping the exercise routine for two days in a row will cause it to go back up and stay there. This is something you can easily check for yourself if you have above normal blood pressure.

Return from walking to exercise

Return from walking to vitality-after-60