Walking with nature results in many health benefits

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Once a month, I receive a newsletter from Brain Pickings (brainpickings.org). I strongly recommend you sign up for their free newsletter (they do ask for donations but not required) in that the cerebral content is quite interesting and thought-provoking.

One of last month's themes was "Walking as Creative Fuel," which quickly got my attention.

How often do you take a long walk with nature? Do you walk for physical exercise or are you just excited to be outdoors enjoying a healthy dose of fresh air?

Whatever the motive, walking is a very positive exercise for many health reasons. If you're indoors on a treadmill you can watch TV, but you miss all the cerebral benefits of being outside: communing with nature and energizing your brain's creative imagination.

Every now and then, while enjoying my 2-mile plod down the less-traveled roads of Rose Hill, I will have a creative "A-ha!" moment. Walking outside, taking in all the sights and sounds of Mother Nature, is truly an inspiring experience which one should schedule every day.

Ever have a chance to walk barefoot? Often our only choice is to access the street or a paved sidewalk where it only makes sense to wear shoes.

Going barefoot on any surface (grass, dirt or sand) that's natural allows you to "ground" with the earth and absorb negative electrons through the soles of your feet. This "grounding effect" is one of the most potent antioxidants we know of and it might even have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body.

What better reason to go to the beach but to improve your health by walking in the hard-packed Hilton Head sand.

Clinical studies have shown that once someone stops walking - whether by using a "scooter" (electric cart) or being pushed in a wheel chair, or just choosing not to walk - the person's overall health starts to decline.

There are so many physical and mental health benefits that come from walking. If we take care of ourselves diet-wise, never get on a ladder after we turn 70 (or sooner), and have a routine (that means daily) walking regimen - 30 minutes is a good starting point - you should be able to walk your entire life.

And you can do it by yourself, anytime, anywhere - using an assistive walker or not.

Next time you go for a walk outside, make sure you pay close attention to all the beautiful surroundings that makes living in the Lowcountry so incredibly wonderful.

What will be your next "A-ha!" moment?

Joe Agee is the marketing and sales director for The Seabrook of Hilton Head. www.TheSeabrook.com

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