By Barbara Hay ~
Did you know a 15 minute walk can change your body?
Most people are well aware of the countless benefits from regular exercise, however, most Americans simply choose not to exercise or workout in their spare time. Yet, studies show that exercise can buy you three to seven additional years of life! Exercise in the form of walking becomes an antidepressant; improves cognitive function, and there is now evidence that it may retard the onset of dementia.
1. Exercise can lower the risk of diabetes: A Harvard Nurses’ Health Study showed that women who walked for a half-hour daily experienced a 30% lower risk of diabetes. Walking was also found to be able to shrink dangerous abdominal fat, which can result in diabetes.
2. Walking lowers the risk of Alzheimer’s disease: Researchers at the University of Virginia Health System discovered men aged of 71 – 93, who walked more than a quarter-mile daily had half the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia in comparison to participants who walked less.
3. Walking reduces high blood pressure: Researchers found that moderate walking lowers the risk of high blood pressure.
4. Walking helps digestion: Cancer Treatment Centers of America maintains that walking can improve your gastric mobility.
5. Walking reduces pain and enhances mobility: The American Heart Association published an article showing walking on a daily basis can improve mobility in people with PAD (peripheral artery disease).
6. Walking enhances bone health: People who exercise or walk on a daily basis have healthier and stronger teeth, boost bone density, strengthen their bones and lower the risk of osteoporosis, fractures, and spine shrinkage.
7. Walking improves cognitive performance: Studies show that regular walks boost cognitive performance in both children and adults.
8. Walking leads to longevity: Numerous studies have proven that regular walking lowers the risk of mortality.
9. Walking improves mood: A 2016 study showed walking at least 20 minutes daily boosts self-confidence and attentiveness, and reduces feelings of anger and hostility.
With benefits like these and warmer weather, there’s no reason not to get out and walk!
Here are some useful walking tips:
- Pick a suitable pace, in order to burn calories, you need to walk about 3.5 miles an hour.
- To burn more calories, try an incline walk (walking up Fairways Blvd. to the Clubhouse is an incline and my Fitbit registers that walk as walking up six flights of stairs!)
- Always wear flexible, low-heeled, cushioned, comfortable shoes
- Walk with the shoulders down, the chin parallel to the ground, and looking straight ahead
- Swing the arms while walking, bend them at 90 degrees and pump the shoulders.
You can start walking more by making some tiny changes into your daily routine:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator
- Go for a short walk after lunch or dinner (walking with friends makes it more enjoyable)
- Get off several bus stops before your destination when taking public transport
- Always park your car a bit further and walk to the destination
- Take your dog for a walk (my dog insists on walking three to five miles over the course of a day)
- Listen to your favorite podcast or music and walk.
It’s recommended to use a pedometer or one of the wearable fitness trackers, to keep track and find out how far you normally walk. At first, you may be surprised to realize just how little you move each day. Tracking your steps can also show you how simple and seemingly minor changes to the way you move around during the day can add up. Plus, it’s motivating to see your steps increase throughout the day.”
We may never avoid becoming completely old, but we may delay the time we become old. We may look younger when we’re 70 and may live into our nineties.