Human beings are not like plants rooted in the ground. Otherwise, we would have good reason to have sedentary lifestyles. There’s no good excuse to live life in this manner even though a device-driven world has had a negative impact on physically active lifestyles. It’s simply a fact that the modern life of TVs, computers and smart phones encourages behavior that keeps people off their feet for extended periods of time.
The First Walkers
Our distant ancestors made the move to stand on two feet at some unknown point in time, in the neighborhood of six to thirteen million years ago. No one is absolutely certain why ancient humankind eventually got up from all fours.
For one thing, standing up gave these ancient relatives the ability to use their hands for handling tools, according to anthropologist, Chris Stringer, at London’s Natural History Museum. In the long run, walking on two feet likely contributed greatly to the development of the human brain.
Obviously, having an upright stance would have increased the likelihood for survival, being able to walk (or run) away from danger. And there’s a lot to be said for simply getting up from the ground and seeing life from an upright perspective. When humankind took those first steps, it could be said that walking became the oldest exercise on the planet.
The Modern Walker
These days, walking is considered by some to be the only exercise needed for staying healthy. There’s no special equipment required; you just need walking space, in a city, a town, out in nature, etc. The beauty is its simplicity.
It’s also inevitable that the simplest things in life are complicated by opinions. For example, there’s marketing that encourages you to be (expensively) outfitted for a stroll. Ignore it.
And then there’s the matter of being told how many steps you need to take daily. Back in the 1960s, a company selling pedometers—step counters—came up with 10,000 steps as the goal to achieve. This number has somehow stuck to this very day.
As for how many steps to take, a 2019 study challenged the 10,000-step goal over a four-year period by analyzing the daily activity of nearly 17,000 women who had an average age of 72. One of the key findings was that 4,400 daily steps lowered the risk of dying more than taking 2,700 steps a day. When more steps were taken, the mortality risk continued to decline; however, it leveled off at around 7,500 steps.
The whole point of breaking down a walk step-by-step is that even fairly inactive people move about 2,000 steps through basic daily activity. Adding another 2,400 or more makes a difference. But you don’t have to turn the simple pleasure of going for a walk into a calculated and measured event to avoid death.
Just How Far?
Given that 10,000 steps is roughly 5 miles, walking half that distance is beneficial on many levels, and you can break it down into two or more walks daily if you want. You’ll be getting aerobic exercise that promotes heart health, circulation, blood sugar control and normal blood pressure.
Whatever your location, you can increase the intensity of your stroll if you like. For example, you could intermittently climb up and down stairs you may see along the way or stop to do some lunges, squats or push-ups during your walk.
Take it slowly if you’re just starting out. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you’ll progress from a daily dose of walking.
It’s good for the mind and soul as well. Going for a walk is an ideal way to clear your head when things may not be going as desired. That’s because walking releases mood-boosting endorphins and helps to circulate oxygen in your body. And if you’re already full of joy, a walk will be like a cherry on top—making you even more joyful.
Walking and Nutrition
Before going for a walk, drinking a beverage made with any whole-food powder from AIM adds easily digested and absorbed nutrition to your walks. Fueling up on BarleyLife, CoCoa LeafGreens, Just Carrots, etc. can give your stroll an added energetic boost.
After having a meal, taking an easy walk instead of making a dive for the couch can be a healthy digestive choice because it stimulates the stomach and intestines.
If you’re feeling sluggish or particularly uninspired, then having some AIM nutrition before taking a walk is a particularly inspired idea, especially if you take Peak Endurance to energize and recover.
Even if you already have your own exercise routine that works for you, carefully consider adding the benefits of strolling and, for good measure, take a walk.