Rec Perspectives with Tia Wayling. File photo

Rec Perspectives with Tia Wayling. File photo

Rec Perspectives: Walking, the Underrated Exercise

“Whether you walk outdoors or inside on a treadmill, the benefits are the same”

“Rec Perspectives” with Tia Wayling, the recreation services coordinator with the Regional District of Central Kootenay

With spring just around the corner, many see it as a time of growth and renewal. We were spared a rough winter with only a few unbearably cold days, which allowed many of us to remain active outdoors. For some, this is what has kept us reasonably sane during a time when being indoors has been more challenging. I know that if my toddlers don’t get out walking, they become feral and tear the house apart. Walking has been the choice of many as it is free, suited to all ability levels and can be done for any length of time.

Whether you walk outdoors or inside on a treadmill, the benefits are the same. The list of benefits is exhaustive, with the most obvious being cardiac health and muscular endurance. But there are others like mental clarity, weight loss, improved circulation, and reduction in stress, anxiety and depression.

Walking is also probably the most under-appreciated exercise. Because it is a second nature activity, it oftentimes seems too simple to have drastic effects on your health. But, done regularly, many can attest to the surprising benefits. None of these should actually be that surprising but sometimes it’s good to be reminded of the simple things that can make your life better.

Some use walking as a way to get smarter. Next time you’re out, try pairing your walk by listening to a podcast or audiobook. If you’re worried about not being able to hear traffic, new headphone technology has ambient sound options so you can listen to your music or books as well as hearing cars coming up from behind you.

Remember the mental clarity benefit of walking? Well, getting those feet moving can spark some of those “a-ha” moments we’re always searching for. That’s because creativity is boosted by up to 60 per cent once you start walking. And, if done regularly, it can also combat cognitive decline which is a side of ageing nobody likes to experience. And who doesn’t like a good night’s sleep? Walking can help with that too.

If you have some mobility issues and find walking challenging, start walking on flat ground a few minutes at a time, like walking to the end of your driveway or the mailbox. Over time, the task becomes easier and you will walk further. While not easy for some, life would be even harder if you were to lose the ability to walk altogether. The old saying, “if you don’t use it, you’ll lose it” is very accurate in this instance. You could even start a simple strength routine, with or without equipment, to boost your walking stamina and endurance and reduce the risk of falls, especially when you start mixing hills into your route.

Even though the weather is getting nicer, finding places to walk that aren’t covered in sand and gravel from the winter can be important and/or preferred. Luckily, the Creston and District Community Complex (CDCC) is offering free walking in the curling arena to those interested. It is available from Monday to Friday, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. each day. Unfortunately, you will need to reserve your spot, so you cannot decide to arrive on a whim. Call 250-428-7127 to book, or reserve your spot online at Happy walking!

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