I do not lead a very sedentary life; in fact, I am extremely active compared to the average person. Previous to living in Los Angeles, I lived in Chicago, Illinois. I sold my car before moving Chicago, so I got used to walking everywhere very quickly. I would walk to work, school, the market, to friend’s houses, and I would also find myself walking just to explore the city. Walking became a way of life for me without me really realizing it.
When I moved to Los Angeles I noticed a sense of dread when I had to get behind the wheel of my new car in order to go… anywhere. I lived in Glendale for a short while, then Santa Monica, and then Hollywood; but none of the neighborhoods seemed to fit my lifestyle of wanting to have the majority of my errand locations within walking distance of my house.
In the spring of 2010 my [now] husband and I moved to the Miracle Mile area of Los Angeles mainly because of how pedestrian friendly the neighborhood is. We can walk to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, a handful of our favorite restaurants, several bars, and even a few museums. We also make a point to walk when we need to go to the bank, to pay the rent, to go to the post office, or even to go clothes shopping at The Grove. We spend the majority of our weekends on foot, walking to the Farmers Market, to brunch, and just to walk through nearby neighborhoods on a leisurely stroll with Ziggy.
I definitely feel more “at home” when I can walk to the places that I need to visit on a daily basis. The only major place that I have to drive my car these days is Santa Monica College for class.
Staying active definitely aids in my overall health and well-being. In addition to walking I am a runner and I practice Moksha yoga regularly. While I enjoy a wide array of physical activities there really is no substitute for walking. After a long walk (which, for Aaron and I is about 5-7 miles) I feel energized, accomplished, and more motivated to be productive for the rest of the day.
I have always known that walking daily and maintaining an active lifestyle is great for a person’s health; but, I didn’t really realize HOW great it was for you. I was amazed by all of the health benefits attributed to walking that I found while doing my research for a paper for my Nutrition & Fitness class.
Here’s just a few things I discovered while completing my research:
According to the American Heart Association’s webpage on the benefits of walking, startwalkingnow.org incorporating just 30 minutes of walking a day can reduce your risk of osteoporosis and can reduce the risk of both colon and breast cancer! This is in addition to helping lower your blood sugar levels, maintaining a healthy weight, and improving your cholesterol.
In a CNN.com article called “Walking a little can go a long way”; experts at the National Sleep Foundation have found that daily walking can even improve serotonin levels, which can aid in better sleep. The same CNN.com article also mentions that researchers at the University of Texas found that walking 30 minutes per day can improve a person’s mood by relieving depression, anxiety, and even stress.
With these benefits, I think we ALL should get into the habit of walking at least 30 minutes each day. and, if you really think about it… 30 minutes per day isn’t that long to ensure better mood, better sleep, and better overall health!