Cobblestone may have benefits for everyone – particularly older people. Find out why cobblestone walking is a growing health trend.
Can walking on cobblestones make you healthier? It sounds unlikely, but there’s some research to back it up. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, cobblestone walking helps to lower blood pressure – and could help older people stay on their toes.
Walking on Cobblestones: What are the Health Benefits?
According to Chinese medicine practitioners, cobblestone walking activates acupressure points on the bottom of the feet, which helps to reduce blood pressure, improve sleep, and lower stress levels. China has a variety of cobblestone walkways for this purpose, and people who live in China seek them out for a daily walk.
Cobblestone Walking is Put to the Test
In a randomized trial, researchers used special mats, made to reproduce walking on a cobblestone path – to duplicate the effects of cobblestone walking. A group of people over the age of sixty was asked to walk on the mat for an hour three times a week for a total of four months. Another group was asked to walk on a flat surface without cobblestones for the same amount of time.
At the end of this sixteen week study, the group that walked on the cobblestone mats had lower blood pressure scores and showed significant improvement in their balance. Many older people have balance problems – which increases their risk of falling. Walking on cobblestones could be a way to improve balance in older people – and help them stay more active.
How to Cobblestone Walk
Cobblestone walking mats are available online. The “stones” are made of molded plastic, which reduces the risk of injury from the rough edge of a real stone. Most experts recommend walking on the mat for thirty minutes a day. To make a complete cobblestone walking path, buy several mats and connect them together in a way that pleases you. To get maximal effects, walk on the mats without shoes. Most people find the sensation of the cobblestone under their feet to be soothing and relaxing. You can even cobblestone walk while watching television.
The Bottom Line?
More research is needed, but cobblestone walking appears to have health benefits, particularly for older people. At the very least, it’s a good way to relieve stress – and stay active at the same time.
Dr. Weil website. “Cobblestones: A Chinese Way to Walk?”
Science Daily website. “Oregon Study Confirms Health Benefits of Cobblestone Walking for Older Adults”.