Swift flowing water swirling and plunging between banks that can barely contain its volume, bright lights and chic clothes in new outfitter store, quaint university inn with relaxing front porch, trees and plants primed to burst forth in color, glitzy outfits and teased hair on hundreds of competitive cheerleaders searching for lunch, well-groomed landscaping on residential tree lined streets and colorfully dressed churchgoers were just a few of the sights from my recent urban walk in Columbia on one of the most agreeable spring days of 2014.
I do not think anyone will dispute that there are benefits to getting outside and walking. There are numerous studies that show walking helps lower cholesterol levels, reduces risk of high blood pressure, helps with your immune system and has also been linked to avoiding brain shrinkage and memory loss associated with Dementia. Walking can help strengthen and shape your legs giving definition to calves and lifting your buttock muscles. It can also tone your abs and whittle away at your waist.
But besides all of the health benefits walking can just make you feel good. This feeling of well-being is no accident either and the science behind the feeling is caused by the increase of circulation which boosts oxygen levels throughout your whole body. Your body will be energized and alert after a brisk walk of just 30 minutes. Many studies have also indicated that moderate exercise like brisk walking is just as effective as antidepressant medication for cases of mild to moderate depression.
Walking is a perfect exercise for our senior population. The increased strength gained through the exercise should help with avoiding falls and injury which will allow the senior to maintain their independence much longer. So don't worry if you cannot run a 10K or do not have the flexibility to participate in high impact aerobics or whatever the latest exercise fad is. Get a comfortable pair of walking shoes and go out to discover a whole new world around you. Your body and mind will thank you for the effort.