Walking Back to Happiness
Article by Mairead O’Riordan
Walking – simple brisk or power walking – comes out tops time and time again as a safe and cheap method of getting and staying fit. It’s free, can be done by most people irrespective of fitness levels, at any time of the day and needs minimal equipment. Best of all – IT WORKS!
Thirty minutes walking at a brisk pace, at least three times each week, is agreed within the medical community as the minimum amount needed to begin to make a body work better.
So what parts of the body can be helped by power walking? Obviously walking strengthens muscles of the legs and lower back, among others. By using the arms in a particular way, the muscles of the neck, shoulder and mid-back work too.
Walking at a brisk pace challenges the cardiac system as exercise demands that more blood is delivered to actively working limb muscles. The heart has to beat faster and more efficiently to send out more volume of blood. In turn, this strengthens heart muscle. Equally once the speed is enough to make you a little breathless, lungs come under pressure, giving them a good work out also.
All this activity sets off a chain of endorphin release in the brain. Endorphins are naturally occurring ‘happy chemicals’. Once activated, endorphins create a natural high, bringing about an energy boost along with a feeling of well being.
Is there a good, bad or better way to walk? The answer is definitely yes.
To get the best out of each 30 minute session remember