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How Walking Can Change Your Life

It may not be obvious, but walking for even a few minutes each day can have a positive impact on one’s physical and mental health. Unfortunately, as we grow older, many people begin displaying signs of prolonged sedentary behaviour as opposed to physical activity. In this article, we will discuss the negative impacts that sedentary behaviour has on our physical health, and how we can reverse this behaviour and allow simple activities like walking to change our lives.

In order to grasp the importance of staying physically active, we first must understand what the opposite does to our bodies. The term Sedentary Behaviour refers to any activity in which an individual is sitting or lying down with low levels of energy expenditure. This can include watching TV, sitting at a desk, driving a car, or even reading a book. While some of these activities may be necessary, prolonged periods of sedentary behaviour can have negative effects on our health. Research has shown that prolonged sedentary behaviour is associated with an increased risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some types of cancer. Additionally, sitting for prolonged periods can lead to a decrease in muscle strength and flexibility, which can increase the risk of falls and injuries, especially for seniors.

To help combat the negative effects of sedentary behaviour, it is recommended to break up the prolonged periods of sitting with regular breaks during which you should stand and move around. This is where walking can change your life. Incorporating one or multiple walks into your daily routine can help offset the negative health effects of prolonged sitting. The importance of this daily walk isn’t the length, but the frequency. By ensuring that you go for a walk everyday or multiple times a day (which is even better), you can live a healthier lifestyle.

Going for a walk is a simple and accessible form of physical activity that can be completed without joining a fitness centre or spending money on equipment. Walking regularly can improve cardiovascular health, increase muscle strength and endurance, reduce stress and anxiety, and promote overall well-being. Even a short brisk walk can improve blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and glucose regulation. For seniors in particular, walking can help to improve balance and mobility and ultimately reduce the risk of falls.

Not only is walking beneficial for our physical health, but our mental health as well. Being out in nature and exploring the outdoors can reduce anxiety and stress. Walking can also be a social activity where you can invite friends or family to join you. Going for group walks is a great way to spend time with friends or loved ones while doing something beneficial for your well-being.

For some seniors, walking outdoors isn’t necessarily safe during the winter months, especially in Canada. In order to maintain your walking routine, there are many seniors centres and community recreation facilities that can work as an alternative. A lot of the time, these facilities have a gym or track where people can exercise. This allows seniors to continue to be physically active inside and away from the snow and ice. These facilities are also great places to meet like minded individuals and make new connections within the community.

In conclusion, we have learned that sedentary behaviour can be detrimental to our health. Although some sedentary behaviour is unavoidable, we should remember to break the prolonged periods of sitting or laying down with physical activity. Frequency is more important than the amount of time spent being physically active, and it is important to make a routine that is easy to maintain. Walking alone or with company can have many positive impacts on our mental and physical health and is an inexpensive and accessible option for seniors in Ottawa. For more information on how physical activity can positively impact your life, contact us through our website.

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