THE BLOG

Walk This Way

03/13/2015 01:53 pm ET | Updated May 09, 2015

Fat -- good
Sugar -- poison
Dry January
Limiting for lent
Decluttered yet?
Digitally detoxed?
Embraced mindfulness?

And while you're at it , don't forget to THRIVE!
Three months into 2015 and it's a wellness-overload-loop.

But, here's something dead simple to start up and keep up. It's for anyone who plans on ageing. So, if you're thinking about stayin' alive, you're in. It's non-toxic and most of us do it already, but lots of us take it for granted.

Walking. Simply speaking, Walking Works Wonders.

If you're a typical office worker, you spend more time sitting at your desk than you do sleeping. If you're sitting, you're not moving let alone breathing right and if that's for over 10 hours a day -- expect consequences.

Researchers at Loughborough University's Working Health Research Centre are looking at ways to improve health and well being in the workplace. This becomes more and more important as conventional retirement disappears in the Age Of No Retirement and people choose to work later.

But real change in behavior and sustaining change is notoriously difficult. Changing a behavior is only achieved by knowing how to reverse it. This is more likely if people feel that that they are doing something they can control, as well as choose. When these conditions are met, the likelihood of sticking to it is greater.

In trials with over 1,000 British Telecom employees, sustained behavioural change via the introduction of short walking breaks and walking lunches has changed attitudes, concentrated focus and helped people take personal responsibility. Along with increased self-awareness, employee enjoyment was widely reported. Exercising was no longer something that they might or might not do, it became part of their daily routine. Wearing pedometers, which provided instant feedback, proved highly motivating and they loved the sense that they were in control.

Improvements were recorded across all markers including BMI, work performance, attitude to jobs and lifestyle behaviors. Changes to healthier food choices, reduction in alcohol consumption and improved well being were also reported.

So, if walking works wonders, footwear choice becomes even more important, a particularly painful problem for working women. A reported 44 percent of women is prepared to wear uncomfortable shoes compared with less than 20 percent of men! Perversely, while high heels with narrow toe boxes can hardly be justified as sensible shoes, researchers have concluded that wearing high heels is significantly correlated to general good health. Despite middle aged women's reporting of foot pain, high heels make a women feel prettier! In a 20 year study of 1000 women with a median age of 61, 84 percent of the participants were wearing over two-inch heels at year 10 and this only dropped to 53 percent by year 20. Now that we are all expected to live longer, it looks like the market for female footwear can also be expected to expand.

At London Fashion Week, Irish designer Orla Kiely's preview show was predictably populated with beautiful, young models. But for anyone who has ever witnessed catwalk shows where the shoes have literally let the girls down, the Kiely footwear collection was refreshingly safer, sophisticated and savvy.

Orla Kiely's collaboration with Clarks, the venerated, seven-generation strong, British shoe purveyor, has delivered some refreshing solutions to the stylish footwear problem.

Now is the time to extend "health span" in tandem with life span. Best foot forward, particularly relevant advice to the "experienced economy," workers over 50.

So, put the"slippers and cocoa" image of the boomers to bed, particularly when this "new-old" demographic represents a $15T market.

And while we're at it, we are learning more and more about the plasticity of our brains. Like our bodies, it's a use it or lose it organ and more likely to shrivel from underuse than overuse.

If walking works wonders, then, moving means miracles. Get on up now.