We’re all familiar with making New Year’s resolutions. Somehow that stroke of midnight that takes us from one year to the next makes us take a deep breath and prepare to better ourselves. But considering that only about 9% of people actually keep their resolutions, does it really do any good to make them?
Yes, absolutely! The rule of thumb for changing a habit is, change one thing at a time. Just one thing.
We suggest that this year the one resolution you make (and keep) is to walk more.
Simple, Yet Effective
Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of putting one foot in front of the other and walking down the road, trail, or sidewalk. This basic form of transportation that we do every day has huge health benefits! Here are a few examples.
- Strengthens your muscles
- Helps you maintain a healthy weight
- Assists in prevention of osteoarthritis by strengthening your bones
- Keeps your joints moving
- Improves your balance and coordination
That sounds pretty good. But wait, there’s more! Walking actually improves your body’s health in other ways you may not know about.
- Prevents or helps manage conditions such as heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, and high blood pressure
- Improves circulation
- Leads to a longer life
- Relieves insomnia
- Keeps you healthy longer in life
We aren’t done yet. Walking regularly has other benefits rarely discussed.
- Elevates your mood
- Fights depression and boosts self-esteem
- Slows mental decline
- Lowers risk of Alzheimer’s
Not bad for something we all learned to do sometime around our first birthday, right. There’s no reason not to get out there and walk, and a whole slew of reasons to do it.
How Much Should I Walk?
The average American walks 5,900 steps per day, which equates to about two to two-and-a-half miles, depending on your stride. Since the CDC recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, doesn’t 5,900 steps meet that requirement?
Close. To meet their recommendation, the average person would need to walk between 7-8,000 steps per day.
Also, keep in mind, the CDC’s recommendation is a minimum. They explicitly state that if you go beyond the minimum, you’ll gain more health benefits. And second, it specifies brisk walking (not ambling through the mall eating a fro-yo with lots of sprinkles…). Take what you do now and put some intentionality into it.
- Walk around the neighborhood every morning or every evening
- Find a pretty park and walk the circumference (many parks have a sign that tells you how far it is around them)
- Park further away from the store and hike in like you mean it
- Try just adding 1,000 steps a day at first
Get Your Gear. And Your Form.
Do not go pounding away at the pavement with all the New Year’s determination you mustered up without first protecting your feet! Get yourself a good pair of shoes that provide cushioning from heel impact and a nice firm insole to boost you on your way and support your foot during each stride. Z-CoiL offers patented shoes for men and women that provide everything your feet need to stay healthy while you push the rest of your body a little bit past what it’s used to.
Your New Year’s resolution to walk more is within reach. Get out there and walk. Head up, arms swinging, core working, and feet supported. It will help you thrive in many ways in 2018!