Walk this way for good health

The health benefits of walking are clear.

Walking conditions the heart and lungs, maintains muscle strength, balance and coordination, and helps us maintain a healthy weight. Staying fit is not just for looks; it helps us perform the essential tasks of everyday life, including bathing, cooking, shopping and cleaning.

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Yet the simple act of walking also fosters our emotional and social wellbeing.

When we walk, we are more connected with our community particularly the people, our neighbours, whom we meet face to face. This is lost when we commute, shop and run errands by car. When we drive, others contained within their own vehicles are depersonalized and may even become objects of irritation, competing for space in the line of traffic and appearing as obstacles to where you want to be.

Walking is the cheapest and simplest form of transportation, and it’s the best for our environment. The footprints you leave will be healthy, human and not carbon.

When we walk, we are more connected with our bodies and the neighbourhood. We move at just the right pace to really look around and see — every house, every shop, every flower and every tree.

We can feel our hearts beating and feel each breath. We sense the energy and warmth of being physically active, using our bodies as we were meant to.

A ride on the bus or SkyTrain is like an extended walk, particularly if we get off an extra stop ahead of our destination. A ride in a car, on the other hand, is like an extended sit, and most of us do enough of that.

Physical activity, walking included, has been shown to reduce stress and the symptoms of anxiety and depression. Walk with a friend and you’ll feel even better.

Rain or shine, why don’t you go for a good walk today and notice how great it feels?

To celebrate the power and value of simply walking and to help more people in our communities acquire the habit of being physically active, the Doctors of B.C. has organized Walk With Your Doc events throughout the province.

During the week of May 9 to 15, doctors throughout British Columbia will be promoting physical activity in a variety of community events.

On Saturday, May 9, we’ll kick off the week with a free and fun two kilometre walk at Kitsilano Beach Park in Vancouver at 9:30 am. As the event’s emcee, I’ll be there with many of my colleagues along with our patients.

Even if your doctor isn’t there, you’re welcome to attend. All members of the public are invited, but come early to get your free pedometer. For more information about this event, check online at www.bcma.org/walk-with-your-doc.

Dr. Davidicus Wong is a family physician. You can read more about achieving your positive potential in health at davidicuswong.wordpress.com.

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