Summer means more daylight hours and warmer temperatures, which makes it a great season for walking outdoors. Walking is known to help release endorphins that elevate our mood and decrease stress levels. When done consistently and enough to increase heart rates, walking can even burn calories and help us lose weight. A heart-healthy exercise, walking is believed to lower the risk associated with high blood pressure, high LDL (bad) cholesterol, stroke and coronary heart disease.1
Depending on where you live and how hot the summer days get, you can create a walking regimen. In climates that are very hot, it’s best to limit walking to early morning and evenings when temperatures are lower and tolerable. Frequent but short brisk walks are just as beneficial as longer walks. Both help to build stamina and strengthen the heart, so you don’t need to take one long, extended walk to meet your distance goals. You can split up the distance into a few short walks. If counting steps matters to you, then simply wear a pedometer.
Again, depending on where you live, there are many ways to incorporate a walking habit into your daily routine. You may:
• walk part of the way to work or even all the way, if it isn’t that far.
• walk on your lunch break.
• take the stairs whenever possible, instead of using an elevator or escalator.
• get the whole family involved and take a walk after the evening meal. Walking helps digestion!
• find a walking buddy and set aside time together.
• increase your walking time or distance with your dog(s).
If you haven’t been walking for some time, gradually build up time and distance. Even though walking is a gentle exercise, overdoing should be avoided. Be sure to:
• dress comfortably in loose-fitting clothes.
• dress in light colors if the sun is already up or hasn’t set yet.
• watch out for traffic, depending on where you’re walking.
• carry a water bottle with you and sip regularly. Remember, even if you aren’t sweating, you’re still losing water. Dehydration causes great discomfort and may even be dangerous.
• wear a visor, sun hat or head covering you feel comfortable in.
• wear shoes that are broken in and give good support. If you are hiking or going on uneven terrain, you may need sturdy boots instead of comfy shoes.
• wear sunscreen everywhere your skin is exposed. You can get sunburned even when you cannot see the sun.
• use walking sticks if you want to work out your arms.
• use a walker if you are post-surgery or in recovery and have been sedentary for a stretch of time.
• wear light ankle and wrist weights if you want extra conditioning or to build muscle mass. (Make sure you are in good shape already before adding weights.)
Walking is one of the easiest ways to incorporate daily exercise into an Active Wellness lifestyle. Get everyone in the household involved and see how fast communications improve between generations!
This entire summer and into the beginning of autumn, you can jumpstart your walking habit with the Summer Active Wellness Pack. It comes with one PiMag® Sport Bottle (to help you stay hydrated), one pair of energizing magnetic insoles (choose your size of Kenko mSteps® or mStrides®) and one Kenzen® Super Ciaga® Powder (for a superfruit antioxidant and immunity boost). You get the pack at 20% off from now through September 30.