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October 9, 2015

Benefits of Walking

I think the autumn has finally hit us as it is quite chilly out there today. I am always a bit sad about that as I like the warmth, but the changing colours are beautiful, so my plan is to get out there and enjoy them! A great way to do that is to go walking and the awesome thing is that walking is so much better for our health than I ever realised!

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The benefits of walking by the riverside in Walton!

I have been reading The Brain’s Way of Healing by Norman Doidge, which is fascinating and definitely worth a read. It combines people’s stories with a ton of scientific research as to why they experience what they do. The chapter that has really stood out for me up to now, talks about a man with Parkinson’s who has trained himself to walk using his conscious mind, rather than relying on the subconscious pathways in his brain that don’t work so well anymore. He has found that his disease hasn’t progressed as fast as would have been expected and he still has a quality of life that he is going to fight very hard to keep.

I find this hugely inspiring and so wanted to share just a small amount of the science behind how walking can help us all. So let me start by saying there are a lot of studies that show that a sedentary lifestyle increases our risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and neuro-degenerative illnesses. All things I definitely want to avoid and I imagine so do you. The great thing is that walking at a good pace puts a little stress on the body for a period of time (which is the kind of stress we all need), it helps release chemicals in the brain that maintain the brain’s plasticity (the ability to change and develop), it puts you out in new environments and so helps facilitate learning (another awesome way to ensure your brain doesn’t turn to mush!) and if you can go out walking in nature so much the better.

On a personal note I often find that after a walk I am way more positive, my head doesn’t feel so crammed with stuff and more often than not I can prioritise things I need to do way better than before I went out. Things are just clearer, do you feel that too?

And I’ll just finish with an epic quote from the book “If there’s a panacea in medicine, it’s walking.” (panacea: a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases)

I would love to hear from you about walks you love or any photos you take on walks so head over to my Facebook Page or follow me on Twitter and let me know what’s going on!

Health and happiness

Lori
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