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Walking your way to a healthier mind, body, and soul

Article by Ann Pietrangelo (has MS)

You can walk the dog, walk with the kids, or just take a stroll by yourself. However you do it, walking is good for the mind, body, and soul, and here’s why:

Walking helps you manage your weight, lowering your risk of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes.
It is a gentle, low-impact exercise and easy on the joints
Walking improves circulation; increases your energy level; improves sleep, mood, and sense of well-being.
It is free. You don’t need a health club membership or special equipment. A good pair of walking shoes will do the trick.

Walking with family, friends, or neighbors can be a social outlet.
You don’t have to go anywhere in particular, although that’s certainly efficient; it is more about the journey.
It is a good way to calm and declutter your mind. It will get you out of the house and into the great outdoors, where you can let your thoughts roam freely. (Turn off that cell phone!)

It is common knowledge that exercise is important to human beings, but most of us either can’t manage to squeeze it in to our busy day or invent excuses not to do so. I’m no exception. I am often sidelined by symptoms of multiple sclerosis and am much too slow to take advantage of the rebound.

If you have physical symptoms that make a long walk impossible or inadvisable, perhaps you can substitute with a stroll around your own backyard. Experts say that 30 minutes of exercise a day is ideal, but if you can’t, how about a five-minute walk? If it is not enough to get the physical benefits of a full workout, you’ll still feel better about yourself for putting in the effort, and you might be able to gradually lengthen your walks and quicken your pace.

When the weather isn’t cooperating and I feel the need to get moving, I’ve got my ace in the hole — WiiFit Plus. Full disclosure here… I am not affiliated in any way with WiiFit and stand to gain nothing by mentioning the product. Nevertheless, it has proven to be an effective tool in my fitness plan.

The WiiFit includes some simple games of balance and low-impact movement. My favorite is the island bicycling game. It is called bicycling, but walking in place is how you create the movement. Some days, it is almost impossible to get a handle on MS symptoms. How far can you walk before your legs stop cooperating? That unknown can stop you from heading out on the walk in the first place. Not so with the WiiFit; you can plunge right in and quit whenever the time is right. I find that 30 minutes go by very quickly, with the same physical and mind clearing benefits of walking outdoors.

Walk. Walk somewhere. Walk nowhere. Be creative. If you are physically able, you owe it to yourself to use those marvelous legs to walk your way to a healthier body, mind, and spirit… one step at a time.

Writer Ann Pietrangelo embraces the concept of personal responsibility for health and wellness. As a person living with multiple sclerosis, she combines a healthy lifestyle and education with modern medicine, and seeks to provide information and support to others. She is a regular contributor to Care2 Causes. Follow on Twitter @AnnPietrangelo

Hi all, just thought I'd share this with you.  I went for a walk in the sunshine this morning, lovely.  It loosened up the stiffness from yesterday's yoga class, and helped me finish waking up.  I was able to write to a friend that I didn't have the energy for yesterday.  I'm going to try to get some walking in every day, or as close to it as possible.  :o)


2 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi and thanks for sharing this article,

Walking and exercise is great for everybody, the benefits are amazing.

I walk every day, sometimes I don't walk as far or push myself as hard but I do go for a walk with my dog to relax.

For me personally since I have started walking I am finding it has helped with me not being so stiff, I have increased my fitness level, some days I do find it more challenging than others but I think overall the health benefits are rewarding.

I call my dog my personal trainer, as she keeps me motivated when I am feeling too lazy she runs and gets her lead and drops it at my feet, so I feel guilty, so I tend to walk rain, hail or shine, since I have been doing my walks I find I don't suffer from quite as much stiffness as I did and I have lost a bit of weight, toned up a bit more, I don't walk far and I don't walk fast, but I walk for 30min every day, usually broken up into 2 fifteen minute walks but it depends on my energy, it it's hot I can't do it for too long.

Hope your yoga is going well Kathy.

Avatar universal
Thank you for this, I hate it that I can't walk a lot, more due to my balance than anything, less than 3 years ago I was running/jogging 30 minutes a day before work! I do try and walk as much as I can though.

I love the Wii, I have the Biggest Loser game. Anyone who has watched the programme might think that the exercises would be impossible but that is not the case.

As long as you put in your age and the level you want to start at it comes up with a manageable programme. I have been following it now for about 10 weeks. Sometimes I have to modify the exercises to suit.

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