I recall a visit to one of my business accounts where two office employees were corresponding by e-mail with their cubicles merely eight feet from each other. I thought, boy, we sure have changed, and perhaps not for the better, since the days when our grandparents purportedly walked 5 miles to school in the blinding snow. But the message here is not about the steely drive of our ancestors or the conveniences of modern technology but rather the health benefits of walking.
According to a study by researchers from Rutgers University and the University of Tennessee, Americans on average walk only 87 miles a year in contrast to Europeans who average 237 miles a year. The researchers attributed this mode of "active transport" to be one of the reasons Europeans are thinner than their peers across the pond. Along with a leaner body mass, walking regularly at a moderate pace for at least 30 minutes a day has the following health benefits.
- Decreases the risk of heart disease (by as much as 40% in women)
- Improves circulation
- Reduces muscle tension and combats depression
- Helps prevent osteoporosis
- Bolsters the immune system
- Helps prevent and control diabetes
These are just some of the benefits gained by "low-impact biped locomotion" and with less jarring of the joints than running. So as the dog days of summer give way to the crisp air of autumn in New England with all its multicolored splendor - walk on!