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Walk Your Way to Health!

It’s a New Year and that means resolutions!  At the top of most lists you will find health and fitness goals.  If you are looking for a great and effective way to jump-start your 2016 wellness and exercise plan, look down…and if you can’t see your feet, even more reason to lace up some walking shoes and head out the door!

Walking is one of the seven primal movement patterns so it is an ‘exercise’ anyone can do without thinking, which is precisely why it allows the walker to access the mind…creating, problem solving, planning, or just dreaming.

Other benefits of walking include calming the nervous system, taking in vitamin D from time in the sunlight, social benefits from group walking, and weight loss.  Walking can be as beneficial as ‘burst training’.  Moderate-intensity activity, such as a brisk walk, consumes more METs than lower-intensity activities such as Yoga.  (MET stands for metabolic equivalent hours and is a unit used to estimate the energy expended during physical activity as compared to that expended while sitting quietly.)  Federal guidelines suggest 7.5 METS hours per week.  This is the amount expended in walking briskly for 30 minutes, five days a week.

Walking is one of the best weight-bearing exercises for men and women.  It is great for our bones since it allows you to work against gravity.  Women aren’t the only humans at risk for osteoporosis.  Though it may manifest later in life and advance more slowly due to the larger, stronger quality of male bones, it can be just as devastating for a male as a female.  In 1999, it was estimated that 1.5 million older men had the low bone-mineral density that predisposes them to osteoporotic fracture.

Everyone knows how to walk and no fancy equipment is required!  The winter weather in Dallas is almost nonexistent, but when it does get too blustery, the mall is a great place for a walk.  Dallas has many wonderful neighborhood tracks, parks, and paths in the city and we are within 30 to 45-minutes of some great trails.  Legacy Center is located at the start of the Continental Pedestrian Bridge and we love to take clients on a walk over the bridge and on the levees.

P.S. If you experience any of these symptoms during a walk, you know your body is not operating efficiently with respect to tensegrity biomechanics:  toe pain, knee aches, tight low back, out of balance right to left.

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