The name of my blog is Healthy Soul Simosihle . Simosihle (pronounced see-moh-see-leh) is a Zulu name for beautiful feeling, and that is definitely something you experience when you take care of yourself. Feeling good about yourself inspires you to do so many things, such as exercising, eating right, or stepping outside your comfort zone to try something new.
Yesterday, I went for a walk. There is something about walking that is so therapeutic. It clears the mind and decreases anger, at least for me. There has been many days when I went for a walk at lunch and felt twice as better afterwards. When you walk, do you ever take the time to notice your surroundings? I think most people don’t. They look straight ahead as if they have blinders on the sides of their faces. Everyday, I walk about five blocks from the train to my job and I’m always greeted by a group of birds flying in perfect formation over Stroger Hospital. It amazes me that with so many people walking up and down the street that no one seems to take the time to enjoy the view and splendor of creation.
Did you know that there are many mental and physical benefits to walking that can benefit all age groups? According to arthritistoday.com:
Walking slows mental decline. A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17-percent decline in memory, as opposed to a 25-percent decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week.
Walking lowers Alzheimer’s risk. A study from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville found that men between the ages of 71 and 93 who walked more than a quarter of a mile per day had half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who walked less.
Walking improves sleep. A study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk.
Walking lightens mood. Research reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that walking 30 minutes a day boosted the moods in depressed patients faster than antidepressants. Why? Walking releases natural painkilling endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were.
Besides these mental benefits of walking, it also serves as a form of meditation. An outdoor stroll can help erase a bad day as you instead start to focus on the surrounding environment. Carolyn S. Kortge began walking in the ’80s and entered her first race-walking competition in the ’90s, eventually becoming a USA Track and Field Association bronze and silver race-walking medalist. Carolyn, who lives in Eugene, Ore., was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in 2004, but continues to keep her mind off the pain in her knees and hands by walking daily.
In addition to that, there are also numerous physical benefits. Consider these I found on mayoclinic.com:
Benefits of walking
Walking, like other exercise, can help you achieve a number of important health benefits. Walking can help you:
- Lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol)
- Raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol)
- Lower your blood pressure
- Reduce your risk of or manage type 2 diabetes
- Manage your weight
- Improve your mood
- Stay strong and fit
All it takes to reap these benefits is a routine of brisk walking. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. And you can forget the “no pain, no gain” talk. Research shows that regular, brisk walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise, such as jogging.
And if that wasn’t enough incentive, there are no membership fees to walk, it’s FREE! That should certainly inspire simosihle!
Finally, before I sign off for the night, let me suggest checking out an essay when you have some free time (it’s lengthy), Walking, by Henry David Thoreau.
And if you’re thinking about starting a walking routine , grab a pedometer, shoot for 10,000 steps a day, and remember this old Chinese proverb, “One step at a time is good walking.”