I REALLY ENJOY walking. I purposely park the car (usually at the Veterans’s Park) far from my destination so that I’d have the chance to walk. I’d walk from there to Brodeth Hardware or to Metro Gaisano and even to Prince Mall and farther away. During our last vacation in Baguio, I walked for almost 5 hours to see the Sea of Clouds and the Blue Soil of Sagada, without any soreness the following day. I naturally had ample training for years at ViSCA in the 70s when the main mode of transportation was walking or riding a regular bike.

Walking is a powerful tool for both our physical and mental health. Walking daily can reduce the risk of heart disease by 30%, according to research. The report also suggests that walking has been shown to reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and keep you mentally sharp.

If that information alone doesn’t convince you to hit the road, here are a few other reasons to embrace walking and some advice on how to incorporate more of it into your day.

1.) No matter your age or health history, walking is beneficial.

Walking consistently is a great form of exercise that reduces cardiovascular problems and often correlates to other healthy habits. Approximately 21 minutes may be the magic number, but short walking each day are beneficial, too.

2.) Walking keeps you from prolonged sitting.

Many of us are sitting more than ever because of the current work-from-home lifestyle, or social media addiction, and sitting all day can affect our bodies over time. Walking in any capacity keeps us from prolonged sitting, which can only be a health benefit in the long run.

3.) If you need motivation, try walking with a buddy.

Going for a walk with friends is a great way to create accountability for both you and your walking buddies. If you’re someone who likes to walk and talk, you’ll get some enjoyable conversation and laughter out of a walk with a friend.

4.) You can also listen to music on your walk.

If you are more of a solo exerciser, it is suggested that you save a good podcast, audiobook or soundtrack for your walks to make them more enjoyable.

Between work, errands, family obligations and household chores, life is busy. Taking time for yourself may not be feasible right now and that’s OK. If you can’t fit in the recommended 21 minutes of walking a day, start small.

Task yourself with a minute-long walk down your garden this afternoon, or take that 10-minute work check-in call as you walk around your neighborhood. No amount of time is too short. Once you feel ready, you can start to incorporate different walking distances and intensities, like speed changes and elevations, as in the Diversion Road. Both of these things, plus sticking to a consistent habit will likely yield the biggest return for your efforts. By Manny Palomar, PhD (EV Mail May 8-14, 2023 issue)