The Benefits of Walking!

Here at Decatur Active Living we love walking and seeing as how it’s Walktober we thought we’d share some benefits of walking from our friends over at Clarity Fitness. We got together with Abbey Griffith, owner and founder of Clarity Fitness and below are her thoughts on the wonderful benefits of walking!

Abbey Griffith
Owner, Founder, NASM CPT Clarity Fitness

As a Certified Personal Trainer, Group Exercise Instructor, Gym Owner, and Eating Disorder Recoveree, I know that there is no one “best”, “right”, or “ideal” workout. What you do to workout, how long it lasts, the intensity, where it is, and so many other factors truly come down to what will be sustainable, flexible, and fun for you! You’ll not only find it easier to incorporate movement into your life longterm, but it won’t be something you dread and feel you “have” to do. Movement will be an act of kindness and respect for your body.

Let’s talk about walking. Walking in itself is an absolute blessing, privilege, and gift. To be able to stand our entire bodies over two tiny flaps of bone and muscle (feet), then coordinate our incredible bodies over top of them while propelling ourselves forward to where we want to go? Wow! For those who can’t walk, don’t worry, your body is just as phenomenal. Think about what all goes into reading this article – the neurons firing, your eyes tracing along these words, the cognitive behavior of processing the information – can we all agree that our bodies are beyond incredible?

Now that we’ve locked in gratitude for the vessels that will take us through our entire lifetime, let’s explore how we can treat them with the respect they deserve in regards to movement. Exercise is a tool to work with, not against, the body. It is our right to play with different types of movement and explore what brings light into our lives. Be it walking, dancing, lifting, running, climbing, swimming, etc. – it is movement, and it is enough. 

I so regularly hear people beating themselves up because they “should’ve” worked out harder, longer, or in a different way. Critical and scientifically untrue comments like, “I went on a walk, but my friends ran – they did so much better than me”, or “I only walked today – I’ll have to go for a run tomorrow”. 

Both running and walking are excellent forms of exercise, but it’s time to give walking the credit it deserves. Functional movement means that a movement is found in your regular day to day motions. Think about sitting down and standing up at your desk – a squat! Or bending over to pick up a pen you dropped – a deadlift! The most functional movement of all for the many of us who get around throughout our day to day this way – walking. A study on “Walking versus running for hypotension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction” states that, “Equivalent energy expenditures by moderate (walking) and vigorous (running) exercise produced similar risk reductions for hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, and [coronary heart disease].” In essence, running is not “better” at defending against major health complications than walking, especially if you would much rather walk.

Walking is also a great option for injury prevention, as running without appropriate shoes, progression, training, stretching, and recovery can more easily lead to injury than doing so in a walk (although also risky!). If you’re interested in or love running, go for it! However whether you’re walking or running, we always recommend form checks from a Certified Personal Trainer or Physical Therapist to keep you safe and feeling your best.

Last but not least, movement and mental health must be clearly connected. If running causes you anxiety, you dread your workouts on cardio day, or you just really love walking but feel like it’s not a “good enough” workout, explore that with a Health at Every Size, Eating Disorder Informed, and/or Body Positive Mental Health Provider or Personal Trainer. It is incredibly important to tailor movement around what works for you and your body on any given day, and it’s allowed to change regularly. 

Now, go play!

Celebrate Children’s Environmental Health Day

The City of Decatur, in partnership with Georgia Clinician for Climate Action will celebrate Children’s Environmental Health (CEH) Day on Thursday, October 14 at Legacy Park from 5pm-6:30pm. The purpose of the Children’s Environmental Health (CEH) Day is to raise awareness about the importance of clean air and water, safe food and consumer products, healthy environments, and stable climates to children’s health and development.

Join us for a wonderful walk with city officials and staff around the beautiful grounds of Legacy Park. Activities will include tree identification along the walk, youth groups and climate/environmental health facts from doctors. Together we can safeguard the health, safety and well-being of our most precious resource, children.  

For more information on Children’s Environmental Health (CEH) Day visit cehday.org or if you would like to participate in this event contact Gregory White, Director of Decatur Active Living at 678-553-6543 or greg.white@decaturga.com     

Free! Art in a Bag Halloween Craft

Enjoy making a fun Halloween craft that you can use to decorate your home with. Using a balloon, glue and yarn, you will create a 3-D spider web. The directions are included, as are all the supplies you will need. Pick yours up at the Glenlake Tennis Center. Supplies are limited, so stop on by today!

For more information, contact Sara.Holmes@decaturga.com.