What if you were told there’s one thing you can do that will benefit your entire being – mind, body and soul? From brain and mental health to physical health, sleep and so much more, this one thing has proven to be beneficial. Not only that, but it’s also free, easy to do and safe. Pretty exciting, right? Well, what is it? It’s walking! Integrative medicine expert and Vionic Innovation Lab member Dr. Andrew Weil expounds on the merits of walking and why you should make time for it in your daily life.
- Boost your brain health. As we get older, we’re often reminded of the need to keep our physical health top-of-mind. But our brain health requires just as much upkeep. A recent study from the University of Kansas reveals that even small doses of exercise can help improve our brain health and thinking skills. Dr. Weil suggests that seniors walk at a brisk pace for 45 minutes a day to reap cognitive benefits and keep the mind sharp as we age.
- Melt away stress. Physical exercise has long been known to be a reliable stress-reliever. Dr. Weil cites a 2015 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science of Sports revealing that a 30-minute walk over lunchtime can boost your mood, offering a quick fix for stress. To kick it up a notch, try breath-walking, a form of active meditation developed by Dr. Jim Nicolai, Dr. Weil’s colleague, that combines walking and meditation to further stave off anxiety by keeping you mindful in the moment. Learn more about this practice and get video instruction from Dr. Nicolai.
- Lower your blood pressure. While high blood pressure and hypertension have a largely hereditary component, a 2012 study in Hypertension showed that, regardless of family history of high blood pressure, one can lower the risk of developing hypertension by staying in shape. Dr. Weil recommends 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day as one of the most effective natural remedies for high blood pressure.
- Sleep more soundly. We all know how important sleep is to our overall health. It’s when your body repairs itself from the stresses of the day. A 2013 study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that more than 75% of the study participants who said they exercised regularly reported that their sleep quality was very good or fairly good. However, if the only time of day you have available for exercising is in the evening and you find that it interferes with your sleep, do not worry! Read these tips from Dr. Weil and Dr. Dan Bornstein of the Department of Health, Exercise, and Sport Science at The Citadel for how you can wind down after an evening workout to help you fall asleep more easily.
- Improve your fitness. If improving your fitness is your end-game, walking is a great option for that, too. While it may take longer to see results than running or a more intense workout, it can still improve your cardiovascular health. Dr. Weil advises, “The main problem with walking as a principal aerobic activity is that you can easily fail to do it strenuously enough to get the conditioning benefits of exercise. You should be able to walk about three miles in forty-five minutes.”
Now that you know why walking is so great, make sure you have the right shoes. Vionic walking shoes with arch support provide the perfect level of support to keep you moving in comfort.
Source: Dr. Andrew Weil, drweil.com
About Andrew Weil, M.D.
Andrew Weil, M.D., is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine, a healing oriented approach to health care which encompasses body, mind, and spirit.