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Column: Put on your walking shoes and get moving for better health

With the years, I've learned to appreciate the simplicity of a daily walk for overall health.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve committed to an everyday ritual of strapping on my sneakers and going for a walk in my neighbourhood.

What at first started as a chore eventually became a heartfelt passion – a time when I would catch up with friends or family, clear my head, or observe nature at its finest. I’ve also reaped many benefits from the daily habit, including better mental health and weight loss.

When I first began my fitness journey in 2016, I spent most of my time at the gym lifting weights and running on the treadmill. At the time, I thought health and wellness meant killing yourself at the weight rack or running until you felt like you might yak.

Of course, I couldn’t keep up that intensity of training for long, and life ended up getting in the way of my fitness regimen. I soon gave up on my pursuit of the perfect bod and what I thought was the path to ultimate health and wellness.

It wasn’t until the pandemic hit in 2020 that I started to once again recognize the importance of exercise and daily movement for overall wellness. With the world in upheaval over the new mystery virus and with gyms and fitness centres shut down due to public health restrictions, I decided to dust off my old trainers and hit the pavement.

This time, it wasn’t about achieving the perfectly toned and taut body that would look good in a swimsuit, but bettering my health – mind, body, and spirit.

According to Mayo Clinic, you can literally walk your way to fitness and something as simple as a daily walk can help you live a healthier and more fulfilled life. I can certainly attest to that.

Nearly every body system benefits from a daily walk, too – including your skeletal-muscular system, cardiovascular, respiratory, lymphatic, and nervous systems.

Additionally, the faster, farther, and more frequently you walk, the more you will benefit, according to the Mayo Clinic website, which states walking can be a great way to get aerobic activity, improve heart health, and increase endurance.

Alternating periods of brisk walking with leisurely strides – a change in intensity called interval training – also espouses many benefits, including cardiovascular fitness and weight loss.

There’s no denying that something as simple as a daily walk can pay dividends for your health. But even so, I still love weightlifting and plan to return to a more moderate training regimen soon.

Strength training is so important and may even be more beneficial for you than cardiovascular training in the long run. But one lesson I’ve learned over the years is you've gotta start simple.

With the years, I’ve learned to appreciate the simplicity of a daily walk for overall health.

Carmen Cundy

About the Author: Carmen Cundy

Carmen Cundy joined the Airdrie Today team in March 2021.
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