Walking gets you up off the couch; away from the desk; out of the house and but not in the car!
Your posture changes. Your focus changes. Your attitude changes. Tense muscles relax a bit. Weak muscles get stronger. Your heart muscle gets stronger! Your blood circulation improves.
These are some of the expected benefits of walking. Right?
Of course! Walking, especially when you develop a routine of walking, helps you to feel better and be healthier. But that is not the end of the story. The story begins with you, but it grows out from there to include benefits for others.
Walking with friends or family is a healthy way to maintain relationships. Activity oriented gatherings benefit all involved. Walking with someone provides motivation and makes the walking workout more enjoyable. Outdoor activities such as walking have provided a wonderful way for friends to meet and socialize even while maintaining social distance precautions related to the Covid pandemic.
On a more romantic theme, I’ll venture to say there were more than the usual number of walking first dates in 2020! Walking with friend provides both social and physical benefits. What about where you walk? Can that make a difference?
Walking among the trees in nature has additional benefits.
Yes, walking around the track or in the mall is good for you. But walking on a shade speckled, tree lined path through the city park is BETTER! Why? The secret is in the air. In the park, you are sharing air with the trees around you. You are breathing in fresh oxygen which the trees are releasing, and the trees provide aerosolized compounds that are beneficial for humans. Recent research studies* suggest that sharing air with trees can elevate the level of our NK cells, which fight tumors and infections and directly improve our body’s immune system.
Walking can be a form of peaceful protest. If you are concerned for our Earth, our planetary human birthright, then walk to protest government policies that allow corporations to pollute our air and our water and our soil. Come out and walk in support of the local organizations whose members work every day to improve your air and your water and your food.
Walk for your health and the health of the planet!
Peterfalvi A. (2021). Forest Bathing Always Makes Sense: Blood Pressure-Lowering and Immune System-Balancing Effects in Late Spring and Winter in Central Europe. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 18(4)
Bahare Salehi. (2019) Therapeutic Potential of α- and β-Pinene: A Miracle Gift of Nature. Biomolecules. Nov 14;9(11)
Li, Q. (2010). Effect of Forest Bathing Trips on Human Immune Function. Environmental Health and Preventative Medicine. 15(1): 9-17