I know someone who is having a lot of health problems right now. She’s overweight, she has a pacemaker, she was put on oxygen a few weeks ago, and she was just in the hospital for congestive heart failure.
Her doctors told her years ago that she needed to get outside and take at least a short walk every day. That would have been so easy for her because she only lives four of five houses away from her son and daughter-in-law. She could have easily walked down and paid them a visit in the evening after they got home from work, but she wouldn’t do it. Now it’s too late.
I’m not a doctor and I will not give you medical advice. I can tell you what I believe to be true and what I will continue to do to maintain my health. I will continue to move.
Why Do You Need to Keep Moving?
There are many benefits to walking. Taking a short walk can improve your mood and mental well-being, especially if you get outside to do it. I read all the time about how getting outside and soaking up some sunshine is the best thing for people who have trouble keeping a positive mood. People in more northern latitudes, and far southern latitudes, sometimes struggle with Seasonal Affective Disorder because they get very little sunlight during their winter months.
Walking Helps Your Heart and Lungs
Muscle contractions move your blood. Everyone knows that your heart pumps your blood, but muscle contractions assist in moving the blood through the veins to get it back to your heart. You can help you heart out by moving so that it doesn’t have to do all of the work, especially in getting your blood up your legs from your feet. Taking an easy walk once a day can help a lot.
Taking a walk exercises your heart and lungs. When you move you burn more fuel, which requires oxygen, so your heart and lungs have to work to pump more through your body. Your lungs bring in the clean air and pass it into your bloodstream, then you heart moves it through your body to your muscles.
This does more than just help you burn calories. With your lungs bringing in more oxygen they are also pushing out more carbon dioxide. Likewise, with your heart pumping more blood to get oxygen to your muscles, it is also carrying away more trash. Taking a good walk is like Spring cleaning for your body.
I’ve gone hiking a couple of times with my Dad on the Appalachian Trail. I love hiking. We’d go for a week at a time in the Spring, usually in April before it gets hot. I have had pollen allergies all my life, and Spring the South is the worst. As long as we were hiking though, actually moving, I didn’t have any issues with the pollen.
I would wake in the morning and have the itchy eyes and runny nose, but about 15 minutes after we started moving they would clear up. When we stopped for a break, lunch, or at the end of the day, I would continue to be good for about 15 minutes before I would react to the pollen again. When we were walking and really breathing, the pollen didn’t sit anywhere long enough to have an effect.
Moving Boosts Your Immune System
Muscle contractions also move the lymph through your lymphatic system, which is one of the channels that the body has for getting rid of waste materials. It is a part of your immune system. Muscle contractions are the only driver for the lymphatic system. When it backs up, you retain fluids and you can get sick. It’s like how your kitchen gets if you don’t wash the dishes or take out the trash for a week.
Walking Strengthens Your Bones
When you walk, or even stand, you put pressure on your bones. The pressure compresses the bone structure causing it to send out an electrical pulse that tells your body what bones you are using so that it can strengthen them. I wrote a post just over a month ago about How to Keep Strong Bones. Check it out.
What I Do to Keep Moving
My wife and I walk about three miles every day that we can. Sometimes her work schedule doesn’t give us the hour for it. Even when I don’t get to take our regular walk, I still get outside. Pretty much every day I walk my son down the road to his friend’s house. I sometimes take our cat outside and follow him around the yard (my daughter is afraid that he’ll run away or get into something so we go out with him).
I spend a lot of time on my computer, so it is important for me to get up and stretch regularly. I stand at the sink and wash the dishes by hand. Just standing can have some healthy benefits. I move about the kitchen putting things away and sweep the floor. I push the vacuum cleaner around. Anything to make sure that you spend at least some of your day moving.
My grandmother knows that she needs to keep moving too. She leaves the TV remote by the TV so that she has to get to change the channel. She leaves the phone across the room too and answers every call because it makes her have to get up and move. We stayed with my parents for a little while when my grandmother was there a couple years ago. Several times a day she would get up and check on what everyone was doing around the house, in addition to taking a walk every day, just to make sure that she gets up and moves every so often.
There are no supplements, or any other products, that can make up for lack of movement. There’s no other way to get the benefits. You have to get off your butt and move, or you might find that later in life you can’t.
I’m not a doctor. I believe there are many benefits to walking, but these are only my opinions. If you think you may have an issue, please consult a trained practitioner. You should always consult your doctor before you start any exercise program.
I would love you hear your opinions. What do you do to make sure that you keep moving every day? Please share your thoughts in a comment below and share this post with your followers on Facebook and Twitter.