What’s your favourite walk in an Ontario city? In a recent article in the New York Times*, New Yorkers put forward their favourite walking routes through the city’s streets and parks.
From routes home from late night music gigs to early morning dog walks, new architectural discoveries and best buddy bridges (yes really), it’s a fascinating insight into people’s relationship with their built environment.
It’s also a timely reminder, in national Foot Health Awareness month, just how important it is to get out of the car and walk, not just for our physical wellbeing but also for our mental health.
Physical Benefits of Walking
Let’s start with the physical benefits. We all know the importance of exercise, but finding time to fit it in during a busy working day can be difficult. However, if you commute to work, it’s usually much easier to add a purposeful walk to your daily routine than to find the time (and finance) for gym membership. Here’s how it works.
Simply by adding a brisk walk to your daily commute, or replacing lunch at your desk with a walk and a sandwich on a park bench, you can help:
- control swelling of joints from too much sitting
- improve your bone density
- lower high blood pressure
- reduce your risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
- reduce weight and body fat
- improve your wellbeing and reduce depression
- reduce your risk of diabetes
Just 30 minutes of purposeful, brisk walking a day can have other measurable results, including reducing your risk of a stroke by up to 27%**.
Pain when walking
Walking should be easy and pain-free, but if you find your feet, heels or even your toes are painful after walking, come and see us. We’ll check the fit of your shoes and your gait (how you walk), as many of us don’t actually walk very well in terms of how we place our feet on the ground. Many of our patients have benefitted from orthotics, custom-made insoles for your shoes that correct your foot position and make walking easier, more efficient, and more enjoyable! Call us or pop in to book an appointment.
Low cost help for depression
Walking is an easy, low cost solution that doesn’t cost you a fortune in expensive equipment or outfits. Walking outside in sunlight boosts your vitamin D levels, and activity stimulates the production of feel-good endorphins in your body that can be as effective as anti-depressives in cases of moderate depression.
What is a brisk walk?
We like the definition from the Government of Victoria, Australia: “‘Brisk’ means that you can still talk but not sing, and you may be puffing slightly.”
Now for the fun part!
Most of us walk to get from A to B, but when you walk for exercise, you don’t have a destination as such. So, you can choose your route to take you past interesting buildings you’ve only ever seen through your car window, along streets that are not on your usual driving route, past shops you’ve always wanted to pop into, or that deli that looks amazing. It’s up to you.
Walk the same parks or riverside paths once a week and see how the seasons change the view. Turn off the iPod and the cell phone, and listen to the sounds of the city, your city. You’ll remember more about these walks in the future too: activity such as walking can reduce your risk of dementia up to a massive 40%.
Share your favourite walk on Facebook
We’d love to hear about your favourite city walks, whether it’s a walk along the Thames in London, a favourite park route in Ingersoll, or even a walk to visit ancestors in the historic Avondale Cemetery in Stratford! To share your route on Facebook, just click on this link! And if Facebook is not your thing, send us an email – we’d love to hear from you.
** The British Stroke Association
Image of Middlesex County Courthouse, London, Ontario by Ivey VRL, on Flickr