It's not necessary to train like an Olympic athlete to be healthy. In fact, too much exercise is actually less healthy. The maximum health benefits from exercise can be reached with a modest routine. Doing more will make you fitter, but not healthier. You also increase the likelihood of injury.
Walking is natural activity that almost anyone can do. There are numerous health benefits to be gained from regular, brisk walking. Your overall health, brain, waistline, and mental health are all enhanced by walking.
Walk your way to good health:
1. Control blood glucose levels. A 15-minute walk after a meal has been shown to lower blood sugar in those with glucose control issues. The risk of type-2 diabetes is lowered by 60% in those that walk daily.
2. Enhance brain health. Walking has been shown to boost grades, memory, and creativity. Who knew you could get smarter, slimmer, and healthier from the simple act of taking a walk?
3. Walking is a great opportunity to think and make decisions. A brisk walk takes you out of your home or office. A change in scenery can clear your mind and provide the mental space necessary to make a wise decision.
4. Strengthen your heart. Even a modest pace is enough to keep your heart in good shape. Walking has been shown to lower levels of bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol. Walking is also good for your blood pressure. Walking reduces your risk of heart attacks and stroke. Thirty minutes a day is all it takes.
5. Control weight. A walk won't undo the ravages of a triple bacon cheeseburger, but it does burn a few calories. More importantly, walking helps to keep your metabolism in shape. Excess calories are dealt with more effectively.
6. Walking is cheap and easy. Aside from a pair of shoes, and even shoes are optional, you don't need anything to go for a walk. There's no complex skill to learn or expensive equipment to purchase. Walking is an option for nearly anyone, regardless of age or current fitness level. It's easy on your joints and carries a minimal risk of injury.
7. Lift your mood. If you're feeling a little blue, a short walk can give a needed boost to your morale. Those that walk regularly report having a better mood than those that don't.
8. Reduce stress. Take walk the next time you're feeling stressed. Walking attacks stress in two ways. It can take your mind off your challenges. It also metabolizes the biochemical and neurotransmitters that create the physiological feelings and symptoms of stress.
9. Increase your lifespan. The number of years you can expect to gain from 2.5 hours of walking each week is at least 3-4. Not bad for results from an activity that most people find enjoyable. New Year's is right around the corner. Imagine how much you could strengthen your health with a New Year's resolution to walk for 30 minutes at least four times each week. Let go of your belief that you need to sweat and strain at the gym to be healthy. Exercise can be more comfortable than that. Add a daily walk to your routine. After dinner is an ideal time. Take the entire family out for a stroll each evening. You'll all benefit and enjoy the time spent together. If you regularly avoid exercise, a simple walking routine can be an effective way to get the exercise you need without the headache of driving to a gym.
Of course, if you are having any physical issues that prevent you from walking or experience pain when trying to walk, give us a call and we can help you get the health you want!
Gregory Frick, DC DACNB