Opinion

The benefits of walking you never would have guessed

Walking is a great thing to add to your daily routine.

Walking can be profitable.

I often find small change in the street when I go for one of my daily walks around the neighbourhood. It is usually only a few coins, but once I even found a $20 note. When I was younger and fitter, I delivered a monthly magazine around my area on foot and was paid about $50 a time for my effort. But money is not the prime reason I take regular walks.

Walking is great exercise. According to health professionals, a 30 minute daily walk can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones to ward off osteoporosis, and increase muscle power and endurance. It is also a good way to get a regular dose of Vitamin D if you walk when the sun is shining and it is not the middle of the day. Walking is also good for your mental health as it can help to clear your head and boost endorphins. All excellent reasons for anyone over 60 to go walking, but again, these are not the main reasons I like to walk.

I walk because it connects me to my local community. I like my feet touching the ground rather than pedals in the car. There are lots of interesting people to meet when you walk, neighbours who you may already know but don’t see often or some that you haven’t met yet but can become good friends with if you bump into them regularly enough. They are the neighbours who usually like to walk too, so you already have something in common, or tend to their gardens and chat to you as you pass by. You can learn a lot about gardening this way.

Then there are the many community service awards I deserve (but haven’t been awarded as nobody knows about my kindness) for rescuing wandering dogs of busy roads and escorting them back to their grateful owners. I’ve picked up rubbish from the street and taken them to the nearest bins and made the neighbourhood a cleaner place. A few brownie points for me for this too.

Ad. Article continues below.

Sometimes I make my way down to a local grassy park next to some tennis courts where I find a sunny spot, relax and watch my more active neighbours competing and perfecting their tennis skills. I prefer to take this time out for a little meditation (occasionally nodding off!) before continuing on my way back home in a loop around the streets.

Saturday is one of the best days to go walking. Invariably I will come across a garage sale or two so I always take a little cash with me (in case I don’t find any on the way that day!). I have been able to find all kinds of interesting presents for the grandchildren as well as books for my hubby at minuscule prices. I make a few more friends this way too.

One of the best reasons for my walking is I tend to sleep a lot better at night. My body has had a bit of a workout and I have used the time to think about things that might have been bothering me through the day. If I set off at around 5 o’clock in the late afternoon hubby will most likely join me and my nearest neighbours will wave us goodbye and are surprised if we change that routine. Of course, I don’t walk if it is raining but I make up for it in the clear days that follow.

There is a lot more to be said about the benefits and joys of walking but I will have to stop now as it nearly 5pm and I must head off for my daily one. My husband is calling; he’s ready to go!

Do you love to go for a stroll each day?

Ad. More articles below.