Get out, get walk­ing and feel great

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - LIFESTYLE - Calodagh McCu­miskey de­signs and de­liv­ers be­spoke well­be­ing at work pro­grammes for busi­nesses and or­gan­i­sa­tions. She also of­fers reg­u­lar per­sonal devel­op­ment pro­grammes, well­be­ing con­sul­ta­tions and med­i­ta­tion and re­lax­ation classes 087 1335230 | info@spiri

TO get the best out of your­self and life, it is im­por­tant you are healthy and feel good in mind, body and spirt.

Walk­ing is a great and free way to get mov­ing, boost health and cre­ativ­ity, and feel con­nected and alive. The ben­e­fits are pow­er­ful.

66% of Irish adults don’t meet ba­sic ex­er­cise re­quire­ments (Healthy Ire­land Re­port). The stan­dard global rec­om­men­da­tion is 150 min­utes of mod­er­ate (e.g. brisk walk­ing) ex­er­cise per week for adults (World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion). It is an hour per day for chil­dren and ado­les­cents.

Phys­i­cally, walk­ing has so many health ben­e­fits. It pro­motes longevity, bone and mus­cle health (re­duc­ing frac­ture risk) and helps in the pre­ven­tion of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease, di­a­betes and other meta­bolic dis­eases, can­cer, de­pres­sion, anx­i­ety, obe­sity, and many other ill­ness. There are many ex­am­ples of phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity al­le­vi­at­ing symp­toms and pain and boost­ing mood in those with chronic con­di­tions like back pain. It helps us feel en­er­gised. De­pend­ing on how we are in­side when we walk it can have even greater ben­e­fits for the mind, senses and spirt. Walk­ing of­fers mo­ments of soli­tude al­low­ing us to re­flect and con­nect in­wards as well as an op­por­tu­nity to con­nect na­ture and oth­ers – all bring­ing value to our lives.

The set­ting makes all the dif­fer­ence. The Ja­panese prac­tice of for­est bathing has many ben­e­fits from low­er­ing the heart rate and blood pres­sure, and re­duc­ing stress hor­mone pro­duc­tion to boost­ing the im­mune sys­tem, and im­prov­ing the over­all feel­ing of well­be­ing. Green ex­er­cise, or ex­er­cise in na­ture, is of great in­ter­est to re­searchers who are see­ing im­prove­ments in abil­ity to cope with stress by in­ter­act­ing in na­ture and the af­fect of on our senses.

More­over, walk­ing lifts our spirit and boosts cre­ativ­ity. It con­nects us to our­selves and our en­vi­ron­ment which pre­pares us to be more con­nected to life. If we al­low it, it brings us fully into the present. As the for­est bathing stud­ies show and as we know and feel when walk­ing on a beau­ti­ful beach, we get even more ben­e­fits from pow­er­ful nat­u­ral set­tings. Walk­ing also builds mo­men­tum for solv­ing prob­lems and get­ting things done. It de-stresses. When we fully move with the mo­tion, it moves us emo­tion­ally and men­tally too.

There are rel­a­tively few in­juries from walk­ing. How­ever, as a cau­tion, if you re­ally want to get the full ben­e­fits, min­imise phone use and other dis­trac­tions. Hos­pi­tals in the US and prob­a­bly around the world are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing in­creases in ac­ci­dents re­lated to tech­nol­ogy and walk­ing. The Ger­mans call peo­ple that walk en­grossed in smart phones–smom­bies–smart­phone + zom­bies.

As well as risk­ing ac­ci­dents, Smom­bies are miss­ing out. To en­joy all the ben­e­fits of walk­ing, as with any­thing in life, al­low your­self to be fully en­gaged in the walk and con­nect with the set­ting you are in.

When at work, a walk around your of­fice as a break from desk work gives new ideas. If you can, take the stairs not the lift. These small changes bring great ben­e­fits cu­mu­la­tively at phys­i­cal, men­tal and emo­tional level.

Happy healthy cen­te­ne­nar­i­ans in­te­grate ex­er­cise into their daily lives. For any of us to be at our best it is im­por­tant we do to.

As Mr Vin­cent Van Gogh wrote in a let­ter to his brother, “Al­ways con­tinue walk­ing a lot and lov­ing na­ture, for that’s the real way to un­der­stand art bet­ter and bet­ter”.

So get out and walk­ing this week and watch the re­sults!

Phys­i­cally, walk­ing has so many health ben­e­fits.

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