Great news in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper today. A study (not the first) has demonstrated that walking may be as effective as medications in treating a variety of medical conditions, both physical and emotional.
Ah, hem.... I think I've written that before. They could have saved themselves a bunch of federal grant money in funding the research simply by asking walkers what the benefits of walking are for them.
If you have fibromyalgia or arthritis, the gentle movements of walking aid in the lubrication of joints, warming and stretching tendons and muscles, and the release of nature's painkiller, serotonin.
If you suffer from back pain, knee pain, arm pain, etc, walking acts the way just described to benefit those conditions, often removing the need to take over the counter analgesics (painkillers) like Tylenol or prescription painkillers.
For the 'blues', SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), and other mild depressive states, walking and other forms of physical activity are extremely helpful. Again, the release of serotonin in the brain is triggered by the physical activity. Whatever form of physical activity is enjoyable for the affected person, from bowling to dancing to walking to swimming to tennis, improves the positive outcome in these conditions, used alone or in conjunction with pharmaceuticals. However, don't stop taking prescribed meds if you are on them without speaking to your doctor!!!
I am not a doctor. I am not a nurse. I am not an attorney. But, I am a reasonably well informed adult with a brain and the ability to connect the dots in my own life. For me, walking is energy. Walking is good health. Walking is social. Walking is spiritual. Walking is essential.
If you have doubts about any of this, you have nothing to lose - oh, and a great deal potentially to gain - by giving walking a chance. If you have no serious physical impairments, get a good pair of shoes and walk at a comfortable pace for 15-20 minutes every day.
If you have been very sedentary, have physical limitations, or live in a place where you can't walk safely outside, strap on the most comfortable pair of shoes you own and walk in place in front of your television during your favorite TV shoe.
As I've written before, if you walk only during the commercials in a typical one hour TV shoe, at the end of the hour, you will have walked in excess of 20 minutes.
Start slow so you don't strain muscles or over exert yourself. But, walk! Walk for 2 minutes, for 5 minutes, for 35 minutes. Start with the time you have or the time you can remain active without becoming short of breath. To boost your work out, sing along to the radio or talk to a friend. That increases the aerobic part of the exercise. If walking is not for you - do what is for you! Bowl, shoot hoops, hit a tennis ball against the garage door, throw a tennis ball at the front stairs, find a pool and swim, skate, bike (real or stationary), even use one of those $25 little bike pedal devices you can buy at any Walgreen's.
Move your body and you'll begin to feel better. Move your body and you'll decrease your pain and improve your mood. Just move!
Remember my 100% GUARANTEE. Should you decide to stop walking and resume your old habits, I personally guarantee that you'll get back 100% of your former life - your pain, your lifestyle, your attitude. You can trust the information you find here. It's from a dedicated walker. Trust me and your life will get better! I promise.
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