We’re all busy, that’s a given. There are simply not enough hours in the day. This is especially true when it comes to our physical health, which often sits at the bottom of our to-do lists. Let’s review our priorities and make sure our physical health is right at the top—there is nothing more important than taking care of yourself.
Physical health will reclaim a scarce commodity in our lives: time. Chronic diseases and conditions also are associated with a significant loss in health adjusted life expectancy, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. So let’s take back time!
Most people are under the impression that fitness is only found in a gym, yoga studio, or community centre. Many feel that physical health is a huge, costly commitment. Have you ever priced out the cost of being sick?
Being physically active has many benefits, and doesn’t have to be complicated. Let’s look at walking. Until recently, a “daily constitutional” was part of life. While it has different connotations, the one most applicable meant a daily walk to invigorate and regenerate the mind and body. Your grandparents were on to something!
Walking has positive health benefits. It strengthens your heart and can reduce the risk of stroke by up to 27% (Heart and Stroke Foundation). It can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by 60% and you’re 20% less likely to develop colon, breast, or uterine cancers. A brisk walk will burn about 100 calories in 30 minutes.
Ok, so the physical side sounds pretty good so far, but what about our mental health?
Walking may delay or help prevent dementia, with older adults who walk eight kilometres or more per week more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as the years pass. Walking feels good. It can not only improve your mood, but may also help alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Convinced yet? Let’s bring back the daily constitutional—the kind that references being active. Thirty minutes a day is a great start, and hits Health Canada’s exercise guidelines.
You just need a good pair of shoes to get going. You can start easy and walk along the Quayside boardwalk from the submarine playground park and walk all the way to the end of the Pier Park. Continue on to Sapperton Landing—this entire stretch is totally flat. When you’re ready to add more of a challenge to your walk, consider trekking from Downtown to Uptown and see if you can spot all the tiled mosaics along the way. Don’t forget, it’s downhill all the way back.