Image of Touchmark residents setting out for a walking hike in Bend, Oregon.

One Foot in Front of the Other

Most people view running as the best way to engage in cardiovascular activity, but did you know that walking has the same benefits with hardly any of the risk for injury? More and more health care professionals and physical therapists recommend walking versus running as a healthy way to stay active throughout one’s life.

At Touchmark, there are many opportunities for walking. All communities have Touchmark Trekkers, a walking club with varying routes and outings appropriate for different seasons and abilities. Indoor walking paths get you moving without having to brave the elements, and you’re likely to run into familiar faces as you do so. Outdoor courses provide the opportunity to engage with nature and enjoy the fresh air. Some of the key benefits of regular walking include:

Improved circulation
Walking gets the blood pumping, which lowers blood pressure over time and strengthens the heart muscles, reducing the risk of heart disease.

Increased bone density
One of the lesser known benefits of walking is its effect on stopping and reversing bone density loss. A Brigham and Women’s Hospital (Boston) study of postmenopausal women found that 30 minutes of walking each day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40 percent.

More socialization
Unlike running, it’s easy to hold a conversation while walking. Taking a walk with a friend or group of people is a great way to tend to both your physical and mental health.

Release of endorphins
If you’re in a lousy mood, research shows going for a walk outdoors is sure to turn it around. Walking releases endorphins: the body’s natural painkillers and mood elevators.

Resident Joanne McCann is an avid fan of walking. “I like to be out and active. All my life, I’ve done it. It’s easy to do, and I feel good when I do it. I go different places and I get to see different things. I walk on the Centennial Trail with the Touchmark Trekkers. I actually like to walk outdoors best, but in the winter, I walk indoors,” she says.

For those seeking adventure, check with your Health & Fitness or Life Enrichment/Wellness team members about upcoming Trekkers outings.