Walking the Walk
“Walking is Man’s Best Medicine” ~Hippocrates
Like many things we know are good for us, we tend to resist them. Especially the obvious ones like the amount of sleep we need, the water we should drink, the vegetables we can consume. There is a great irony in being able to have control over many aspects of our well-being, and yet we focus on the ones we cannot control or change. Sound familiar?
One of the easiest, most accessible, healthiest, beneficial, and painfully obvious activities we can do to improve our health immediately is to walk. If you are physically able, taking a daily walk (especially outside) is one of the most natural things humans do. We are meant to be in motion, not being as sedentary as our culture and lifestyle now promotes. Bearing your weight, getting fresh air, exposure to sunlight, and those lucky enough to be in Montauk have extensive ocean views and salt-water air will boost your mental and physical health exponentially. Walking is social, easy, free, something you can do all year long, and can even assist recovery from an injury or illness. It encourages us to slow down, literally, and figuratively gain a new perspective, and humbles us to be outside, in a world bigger than one we create daily in our heads or on our computers.
So why do we resist such a wonderful addition to our lives? Maybe we are too “busy?” If we are too “busy” for our health, what is the point?
Researchers’ find that walking in the morning, with exposure to early sunlight will naturally jump-start your metabolism for the entire day. A morning walk also sets the tone of the day, not the texts, scrolling or news on your phone. Having accomplished a morning walk, you have already achieved something, and you may start your day in a better mood. As you walk daily, you may find yourself getting stronger, able to walk for longer periods of time, maybe taking the stairs when you can or parking further away from your destinations when you must drive to run errands.
Walking after meals and at different points of the day can aid digestion, can give you a better energy boost than a shot of espresso, and creates a mental break if you need to mull something over or to take a pause in too much thinking. Not having a specific task other than walking allows more creative ideas to emerge, or to sharpen your problem-solving skills by carving out time to step back from whatever issue you are thinking about.
For those that have trouble sleeping, daily walks hold the keys to the kingdom. It’s not a surprise parents encourage their children to play outside and have fresh air, adults are just as likely to reap the health benefits. Adults find walking is a great opportunity to catch up with friends, maintain a fitness routine that can avoid causing injuries the way running can, and is something you can do anywhere so your walking routine is not interrupted. More research on brain health shows the correlation of daily walks can lesson depression, anxiety and keep daily stressors in perspective. Improving your posture, overall fitness and reducing your risk for ailments and diseases are all accessible to you right now. What are you waiting for? Walk the walk.