Hippocrates said, “Walking is man’s best medicine.” It was true in 400 B.C. and is true today, but with one caveat: walking is every person’s best medicine. I do not know the percentage of women to men who walked during Hippocrates’ days, but if the New Albany Walking Classic is any indication, the percentage of modern women who walk for health and competition far exceeds that of their male counterparts.
This is year nine for the nation’s largest walking-only event of its kind, and I have been astounded by the fact that, once again, 80 percent of participants are women. Nine consecutive years have yielded unwavering statistics. Why is there such a gender imbalance?
Throughout the years, I have tried to surmise a rationale for this phenomenon. Is walking too “wimpy” for men? Is walking more socially acceptable to women than men? Or perhaps women know something that men do not. (I have been informed on more than one occasion, by women, that they are smarter than men).
After nine years of involvement with the Walking Classic, I have finally concluded that the women-to-men ratio is irrelevant. Instead, I have accepted the reality that when it comes to achieving good health, walking might just be the best antidote for preventing illness and disease.
The health benefits of walking are well-documented. These benefits are not determined by one’s gender. If women and men follow the physical activity guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the resulting health benefits will be invaluable. To receive these benefits, all a person needs to do is take a brisk walk for 30 minutes per day. It does not need to be done at one time. Three 10-minute walks per day will do it, and then you, too, will realize that walking is a person’s best medicine.