The Cheapest Longevity Prescription

by Arianna Andrews

You don’t need a doctor or a pharmacy, just a pair of comfortable shoes6456323_sWalking is an ideal exercise as it is inexpensive, requires no training and provides multiple health benefits. All you need is a good pair of shoes and a willingness to get started. If you can discipline yourself to go for several days in a row, you’ll start to feel the benefits enough to miss them if you miss your walk. Walking is so good for your health that you might even think of it as a longevity prescription.

Start small. Start with just ten minutes a day, then add time in increments of five minutes as you begin to build stamina. Here are a few good reasons to make it part of your daily routine:

Improves Heart Health

Research reveals that regular walking reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease. It helps to maintain ideal blood pressure, lowers levels of bad cholesterol and improves levels of good cholesterol. Brisk walking is preferable as it enhances the health benefits.

Helps to Maintain Ideal Weight

Even gentle strolling burns up calories. Walking builds muscle tone and mass, which increases your metabolism rate, so you burn more calories even while resting. Walking at a moderate speed can help you burn the same number of calories as jogging or running.

Strengthens Bones

Ten million people in the United States today have osteoporosis and 18 million have low bone mass and are at risk for the disease. Walking helps maintain bone density and can assist in minimizing age-related bone loss.

Improves Balance and Coordination

Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal inuries. One out of three older adults (age 65 and older) falls each year. By strengthening bones and muscles, walking helps improve balance and coordination and guard against the likelihood of falls. Research reveals that people walking outdoors, even if it is slow and unsteady, tend to exercise more often and for longer periods than those walking indoors or on a treadmill.

Boosts Energy Levels

If you feel lethargic, take a stroll around the neighborhood. Walking boosts blood circulation and improves oxygen supply to the cells, which can help you feel more energetic and alert. Brisk walking eases tense muscles and stiff joints, and makes you feel more vigorous and lively. So if you feel drowsy after lunch, walk about for a while to restore your energy levels.

Improves Mood

It is a well-known fact that exercise boosts mood and happiness. Brisk walking releases endorphins that help to ward off depression, anxiety and even pain. You can walk alone, with a friend or “walking partner,” or with a walking club or group where you’ll meet new people.

Better than Running

Walking is easy on the bones, joints, knees and ankles. Running on hard surfaces increases the risk of stress fractures, but walking places minimal stress on the feet and spinal discs. It is a great workout regimen for beginners as they can minimize the risk of injuries while enjoying wholesome health benefits.

Where to Start

Beverly Hills is a lovely area with beautiful streets and many appealing routes to walk, so head outdoors if you are a nature lover. But even walking up and down stairs where you live, or around the block will bring some of these benefits. It really couldn’t be easier.