I started walking for exercise (again) and why you should too

On Monday, I laced up my shoes and headed out the door. I didn’t necessarily want to do it, but I knew I needed to restart my fitness journey. So I started with the thing that made the most sense. I started to walk the neighborhood.

In today’s fast-paced world, finding time for exercise can be challenging, especially for men over 50 who are juggling various responsibilities. However, incorporating a 20-minute daily walk into your routine can have numerous benefits for both your physical and mental well-being. And, at the end of my first week, I’m feeling the benefits, even if I had the “make” myself take those steps each day.

Let’s explore the compelling advantages of this simple yet effective form of exercise tailored specifically for men like me.

  1. Heart Health and Disease Prevention: Regular walking helps maintain a healthy heart and reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. A brisk 20-minute walk elevates your heart rate, strengthening the cardiovascular system, improving blood circulation, and reducing the chances of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attacks.
  2. Weight Management: Maintaining a healthy weight becomes more challenging with age. Walking for just 20 minutes every day can contribute significantly to weight management and prevent obesity-related health issues. It boosts your metabolism, burns calories, and helps shed excess pounds, leading to improved body composition and increased muscle tone. Couple this with a proper nutrition program, and you are setting yourself up for success.
  3. Joint Health and Bone Strength: As men age, joint pain and stiffness become common. Walking is a low-impact exercise that provides gentle movement to your joints, helping to alleviate discomfort and maintain flexibility. Additionally, regular walking stimulates bone density, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.
  4. Mental Well-being: Exercise has a profound impact on mental health, and a daily walk can work wonders for men over 50. Walking releases endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones, which elevate mood, reduce stress, and combat symptoms of anxiety and depression. It provides an opportunity for solitude, introspection, and a break from the demands of daily life.
  5. Improved Cognitive Function: Engaging in regular physical activity, such as walking, has been linked to improved cognitive function and reduced risk of age-related cognitive decline. Walking increases blood flow to the brain, enhances memory, concentration, and overall mental clarity, helping to keep your mind sharp as you age.

Of course, I could give you 20 more reasons why you should take a walk, but those won’t make you start building the walking habit. Only you can start. So, will you?