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Health

Wellness Tip: Take A Walk In The Park On Jan. 20

Jeffrey Grospe

At Garden & Health, we have written many articles about the health benefits of hiking and walking in nature. Strolls combine light cardiovascular exercise with mental health boosts. There are plenty of observances that commemorate being outside. However, no other holiday does this better than Take a Walk Outdoors Day on Jan. 20. 

Stretching your legs in nature has been praised for centuries. The ancient Romans came up with the mile walk, signifying it as a test of endurance and will. 

Modern life turned walking into competition and a social outlet. Germany’s oldest active hiking club, Schwarzwaldverein or Black Forest Association, was founded in 1864 and still operates today. Even the 1908 London Olympics had the activity as a standalone event. It has established itself as a great form of exercise, having such an easy and low-risk impact.

Photo Courtesy levi

Poets, artists, and activists have glorified the health benefits of walking. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Mahatma Gandhi shared a similar philosophy on the practice.

It’s not only a type of exercise but meditation for the soul. Nature and lack of societal distractions allow someone to look deep into themselves and think critically about life. 

There’s no evidence on how Take a Walk Outdoors Day came about. It’s assumed to be a public awareness campaign to promote activity. Since we spend a lot of time behind screens, it’s necessary to disconnect for a while. Why not go take in some sunlight and fresh air?

Photo Courtesy Sue Zeng

Regular walking outdoors can help your physical health in many ways. It improves cardiovascular health and circulation, stabilizes blood pressure, and increases blood vessel flexibility. It’s almost like running, but with no sweat. Not to mention it’s less tough on your joints. 

A 30-minute stroll a day can also strengthen bones. Solid mobility alleviates pain and arthritis and improves joint and bone movement function. If you have back pain, definitely take a walk outside. You can correct your spine’s position and posture after a walk. Your core will be locked in as you move, especially going uphill. Thus, your back will fix itself.

Are you struggling to get a good night’s rest? Walking every day can help you sleep better at night.

Experts agree it helps those who have insomnia and other sleep ailments unwind before bed every night. You’ll feel more tired, and your stress levels will decrease due to mental clarity. 

Of course, walking is perfect for weight loss. You can burn calories with an average mile yielding the best results. However, there are other motions you should do to increase the burn, like swinging your arms while striding gracefully to get the maximum aerobic output. Keep your back straight and move smoothly from heel to toe. 

Also, make sure you pick an area within your physical capabilities. You don’t want a location that’s too hilly or too beat up. If you want a physical challenge, we suggest switching to hiking.

Photo Courtesy Delphine Beausoleil

There are plenty of ways to enjoy your time outside to the fullest. Create a playlist of your favorite songs, or listen to your top five all-time albums. If you want company, ask a friend to come with you or join a group where you can make buddies. You can always bring your pets with you. We know they would love the outdoor time. 

Walking is something everyone can do, no matter their age. Being out in nature will allow you to feel the sunlight, which provides Vitamin D and a big serotonin boost. On Jan. 20, get up and get moving.

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