Walking Your Way to Good Health
March 2001

“Walking Your Way to Good Health,” Ensign, Mar. 2001, 72

Walking Your Way to Good Health

Several years ago I realized that amidst a busy schedule of family, church, and work activities I was not getting the physical exercise I needed to stay healthy. I sought a beneficial activity I could easily work into my daily routine and found it in something I had been doing all my life: walking.

Walking improves strength and endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces anxiety and stress, increases self-confidence, and may improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Walking regularly reduces the risk of diseases such as osteoporosis, coronary heart disease, hypertension, colon cancer, and diabetes mellitus. Walking is also often appropriate for people whose condition does not allow them to do more strenuous physical activities.

The following ideas may help you integrate walking into your everyday life:

Walk to church if distances allow. Plan to leave home a little earlier each Sunday if necessary.

If possible, walk to work or your source of transportation. In addition to starting your workday on the right “foot,” you will save money on travel and parking costs.

If you ride to work, park your car or get off the bus a few blocks early. This will give you a few valuable minutes of exercise even if your trip is too far to walk all the way.

Walk children to a nearby school instead of driving them. This can teach them good habits about active living and will help reduce traffic congestion near the school. Babies in strollers can go along too.

Walk to a local store instead of driving to a bigger one farther away. Reduced transportation costs in some cases make up for higher prices at a smaller store.

Take a walk at lunchtime or on a break. You will find yourself refreshed and more alert afterward.

If your health permits, climb stairs instead of using an elevator. Do not overdo it; climb an appropriate number of stairs for your age and condition.

Turn off the television and take a walk for recreation. The world around you is glorious and full of amazing details only evident when you pass by at a walking pace.

Find a walking partner. Go for walks with people you want to spend time with.

If you are planning a move, consider a location within walking distance of your most frequent destinations (for example, church, school, workplace, grocery store).

Walking affords time to think, unwind, or spend time with others while providing the moderate physical activity that increases personal fitness.—Erik Backstrom, Connors Hill Ward, Edmonton Alberta Bonnie Doon Stake

Illustrated by Joe Flores