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    Walking is the Best Medicine

    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | September 11th, 2016

    Walking is the Best Medicine

    “Walking is Man’s Best Medicine” 

    Hippocrates

    I finished the half-marathon walking race on Sunday morning. It was my best time ever and I felt great after it was done. The soreness creeps up on you in the evening. As I am writing this blog, I can feel my muscles throbbing. You might ask why do I do this to my body, if you are going to have the muscle aches. Why not just do 3 miles and call it a day? I love walking. I particularly love walking with the anticipation that I am going to participate in a walking race – that is my motivation. I love the energy of all the people during the walking race.

    Over 2000 years ago, the ‘Father of Western Medicine’, Hippocrates stated that “walking is man’s best medicine” and that is still true today. In a study sited on the American Heart Association website, walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running. Walking does not affect your joints like running.

    Anyone at any age can walk. As a matter of fact, the people that seem to do well in walking races are those in their 50s and 60s. They seem to get faster as they get older.

    Walking is an aerobic exercise because it gets your heart rate up, but it is also a weight bearing exercise. While walking you carry your weight which can help with muscle and bone strength decreasing your risk of osteoporosis. You can walk alone to help relieve stress and that is  good for mental health. You may choose to walk with friends which can be a bonding experience. You may choose to walk with your spouse – a way to exercise together. It can be a family event with the children.

    Here are some helpful hints to get you started if you are not a walker already:

    1. Invest in a good walking shoe. Walking shoes are running shoes and it would be best to go to a specialty store that will spend time looking at your feet to get the best shoe for you. You might want to buy Nike, but your feet might do better with Brooks. When it comes to walking shoes we want function first and style next. It is an investment about $ 65 – $150 but it will be worth the price because you will have less problems with your feet.
    2. Depending on your neighborhood, you may have to opt to walk on a school track. Most schools open their track for their community
    3. Avoid walking in the dark – if you have no choice, carry a flashlight and wear light colors so that people will see you.
    4. Keep well hydrated with water.
    5. If you want to walk the 10Ks and the half or full marathons, you must train for the races. Google walking clubs in your area to see if you can join a club that can help you prepare.

    I hope that you will get to enjoy walking as much as I do. It as one of those activities you can do for a lifetime.

    Happy walking!

     

    Walking 101

     

    2 Responses to “Walking is the Best Medicine”

    1. Linda K. Jackson says:

      I wholeheartedly concur!!!! I love walking and, when I can discipline myself, change into “walking clothes” as soon as I get home from work, in order to get in my brisk, 45-minute-walk before I sit down. (If I sit down when I get home from work, that’s it! No walking will get done!) My aim is to continue, because I’ve witnessed a great decrease in blood pressure when I regularly walked. I also found that I have more energy, sleep better, and my speed increases the more that I walk (as well as the benefit of losing weight)! Ok Dr. Osuagwu, I challenge ME! The next time that I see you I expect to have a normal blood pressure reading and at least 10 pounds less than my last visit!!!!! 🙂

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