|Image credit AnswerThisCo|
Until relatively recently in our human history walking was a daily part of our existence. While our society has made incredible advances in medicine and technology in the past 150 years we are still experiencing individual and societal health problems. Some of which are do to our modern sedentary life style. There are many options in modern societies to get some for of exercise but commonly walking is overlooked as a fundamental component of many fitness programs. Walking is a unique form of exercise providing multiple health benefits simultaneous as well as enhancing quality of life. Regardless of your age or physical fitness level walking is crucial in building a foundation for health and vitality.
|human evolution. |
(Image by Peter80, GFDL)
One of its offshoots became Homo Erectus, the fore-bearers to the modern Homo Sapiens...us. The human body and brain have been shaped for millennia by refining the ability of walking. Simthsonian.com offers Hominid Hunting’s new series “Becoming Human,” which periodically examines the evolution of the major traits and behaviors that define humans, such as big brains, language, technology and art. Here they look at the most fundamental human characteristic: walking upright. Becoming Human: The Evolution of Walking Upright. For a different and more controversial perspective on the human evolution of walking upright read Savanna Theory Versus Aquatic Ape Theory of Human Evolution . (Those that enjoy anthropology, human evolution and/or developmental anatomy will want to take a look.)
The health benefits of walking are impressive and vital to longevity. Walking can not only strengthen your muscles and cardiovascular system it can also help decrease or eliminate he need for certain types of medications by balancing chronic health problems.
Harvard Health writes about the general health benefits of walking, "the cardiovascular benefits of walking are biologically plausible; like other forms of regular moderate exercise, walking improves cardiac risk factors such as cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress. And if cardiac protection and a lower death rate are not enough to get you moving, consider that walking and other moderate exercise programs also help protect against dementia, peripheral artery disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, colon cancer, and even erectile dysfunction."
Walking is a low impact way to get the synovial fluids flowing by the articulation of our joints, encouraging greater range of motion and healthier joint functions.
Arthritis Health writes about the function of synovial fluid and why it is important to move those joints. "When a healthy joint moves, its bones glide against one another with little or no friction. This ease of motion exists because the boney surfaces are buffered by:
Synovial fluid's primary job is to provide cushion and lubrication for joints. A joint's synovial membrane produces substances called albumin and hyaluronic acid that give the synovial fluid its viscosity and slickness. In addition, synovial fluid delivers nutrients to the cartilage and removes waste from the cartilage.
When the joint is at rest the cartilage absorbs some of the synovial fluid. When the joint is in use the synovial fluid is squeezed out of the cartilage, much like how water is wrung from a sponge. Consequently, joint use is essential to circulate the synovial fluid throughout the joint."
|Meditating while walking provides|
greater results in stress relief.
White Wind Zen Community explains Kinhin or the walking meditation. The word kinhin means sutra walk in Japanese. In traditional Buddhist cultures there's a customary practice of circumambulating. Walking around sites designated as sacred and reciting mantra or sutra. Sutra are records of a talk or discourse by the Buddha. A talk about practice. More generally, sutra can mean a presentation of Awakened Mind. As we step forth in kinhin, we are embodying that presentation of Awakened Mind.
Julie Garden-Robinson of North Dakota State University writes, “Getting moderate exercise such as walking can enhance our mood while it strengthens our hearts and reduces our risk for diabetes, cancer and numerous other health issues,” says Julie Garden-Robinson, food and nutrition specialist with the North Dakota State University Extension Service.Research has shown that walking promotes the release of brain chemicals called endorphins that stimulate relaxation and improve our mood. Walking does not have to be done at a fast pace to have stress-relieving benefits. Even a stroll at a comfortable pace promotes relaxation, studies indicate.
Meditating while walking had the greatest impact on mood enhancement, according to a 16-week study that involved 135 volunteers divided into five groups. The different groups walked quickly or slowly. Some groups meditated while they walked, and some groups did not meditate.
As their meditation, the walkers simply counted “one, two, one, two” as they walked. The meditation was designed to have them focus on their steps instead of thinking about other concerns. Regardless of the speed of their walking, the meditating groups experienced the greatest impact on stress reduction and mood enhancement."
Whenever possible, walk outdoors, nature is an incredible healing balm.
Wishing you health, balance and harmony today and everyday. Thank you for visiting.
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