A spring cleanse plus a walking routine can equal a great start to the warm weather season.
Walking is one of the most natural forms of exercise available to us. It requires no special equipment and is something you can do just about anywhere at any time. And the benefits go far beyond just physical fitness; walking can improve mental health, boost your immune system and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
Walking is a weight-bearing exercise. This means when you walk, you are using your own body as resistance, which helps build and maintain bone density. And if you want to challenge yourself a little more during your walks, you can carry a bottle of water in each hand or a set of small hand weights or ankle weights to increase your heart rate safely and gently.
Making sure to maintain and improve your bone strength and density is important as you age because bone loss does occur and can lead to osteoporosis along with an increased risk of fractures. By having a regular and scheduled walking routine, it can help prevent these issues while maintaining a strong overall frame and healthy bones.
Walking can also improve heart health. It helps by getting the heart pumping and increasing blood flow throughout the body. This can help lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of heart disease, and improve overall cardiovascular function. And since walking is a low-impact exercise, it is gentle on your joints which is a good option for those with conditions such as arthritis.
In addition to all the physical benefits, walking can also have a positive impact on mental health. Studies have shown that walking 30 minutes a day has the ability to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, boost happy hormones and energy levels, and improve cognitive function.
Is there a difference between walking around a mall or walking outside? Well, yes. A growing body of research points to the positive results of going out for walks in nature, reducing stress and even promoting healing. Walking outside also allows you to connect with the natural world and reap the peaceful and restorative effects of being in green spaces. But all walking is good, so if weather or circumstance means mall-walking is your option--do it.
To maximize the benefits of walking, pairing it up with a healthy eating plan is key. A spring-cleaning approach that emphasizes fresh, whole foods like fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains will give your body the proper fuel it needs. These key types of foods are packed with vitamins, minerals and other important nutrients your body requires to help keep inflammation down, helping to feel your best.
The spring clean eating approach is also about avoiding processed and refined or sugary foods and alcohol. Instead, aim to drink plenty of water throughout your day along with the recommended whole foods. Remember, eating clean, whole foods and maintaining a hydrated body is not a gimmick or a quick fix. Establishing healthy habits that you can maintain long-term is crucial as you age. The goal is to create a healthy, active and sustainable lifestyle that you can feel good about.
Here's a spring plan: kick off the season by walking three to four times per week for at least 30 minutes at a time. Get out and enjoy nature, breathe in the fresh air and admire the beautiful views in front of you. Take it all in and really absorb the moment.
And remember that by incorporating clean, whole foods, it will help you feel rejuvenated and ready to take on whatever the rest of the season and summer has in store for you.
Juan Medrano is a certified functional training specialist and certified functional aging specialist. Juan is owner of Movimento Fitness in St. Albert.