The Benefits of Walking for Maintaining Lifelong Health and Athleticism
Inspired by Josh
Being an active person who highly values physical activity, I am often inspired by people who accomplish pretty amazing feats of endurance and/or strength. Recently my husband, Josh, celebrated a remarkable anniversary: he walked at least 10,000 steps every single day for the past five years. Some people might find walking 10,000 steps an easy task to complete (some definitely do not) but to do it every single day for five years in a row is inspiring and definitely worth celebrating.
The Daily Stride
For Josh, the journey began after doing a lot of walking while we were on vacation in Mexico in 2018. He realized that he enjoyed walking and found it was an easy way to catch up on podcasts! He knew he needed to increase his activity level and by gamifying the activity (tracking his steps on his iPod.. Yes, he was a late bloomer to the cell phone world), he was inspired to get out and walk. So, every day Josh would put on his shoes (or winter boots) and set out on his quest to walk at least 10,000 steps. He would navigate various types of weather and use sidewalks, fields, trails, and snow-covered roads. If the weather was too unfavourable (or he realized at 11:45pm that he was short on steps), I could hear him downstairs pounding on the treadmill.
One of the most remarkable aspects of Josh's journey was his ability to adapt, even in the face of adversity. I got a phone call one morning and it was Josh. He said he had fallen on some ice and needed me to pick him up. I pulled up to the side of the road and he was lying down, definitely in pain. It turns out he had dislocated his shoulder. Thankfully it had reduced itself so I went out and bought a sling for him, reassured him and told him to take it easy for the rest of the day. Believe it or not this did not break his streak! With his arm in a sling, Josh resorted to one-armed walking for a couple of weeks. It was a testament to his unwavering commitment to his health (or maybe his commitment to his daily streak!) and his refusal to let setbacks define his progress.
The Health Benefits of Walking
John's incredible achievement serves as a powerful reminder of the numerous health benefits associated with walking and how a simple activity can help to maintain lifelong health and athleticism. Regular walking can:
1. Improve Cardiovascular Health: Walking helps lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol levels, and enhance overall heart health.
2. Manage Weight: Consistent walking can aid in weight management and contribute to weight loss when combined with a balanced diet.
3. Boost Mental Health: Physical activity like walking releases endorphins, reducing stress and promoting a positive mood.
4. Strengthen Muscles and Bones: Walking is a low-impact exercise that can help maintain muscle mass and improve bone density.
5. Increase Longevity: Studies show that regular walkers tend to live longer and experience a higher quality of life as they age.
Setting Your Own Goals
Josh's story is an inspiration to me and I hope to you too. It reminds us that setting achievable fitness goals, no matter how simple they may seem, can lead to incredible transformations over time. Whether it's walking, jogging, swimming, or any other form of physical activity, consistency is the key to success.
Be encouraged to reflect on your own fitness goals. What steps can you take to become more active? Remember that every journey begins with a single step, and the path to better health starts with a commitment to yourself.
So, let Josh's story inspire you to take that first step today. Whether it's 10,000 steps a day or any other fitness goal, start small, stay consistent, and watch as your health and well-being flourish. Your journey might not be as extreme as Josh's, but every step you take brings you one step closer to a healthier, happier you.
If you need help starting or completing your fitness goals, please reach out to us and let us help you!
Karina Cranston - MScPT, BA(hons) Kin, FCAMPT, GIMS