Don’t be surprised if your doctor hands you a prescription for walking. “It’s the closest thing he has available to him as a wonder drug,” That’s why I feature an exercise motivation hypnotherapy download audio session on this website. The fact is, walking is absolutely the best exercise we biped intelligent human creatures can do to become and remain physically fit and healthier. And no, you don’t have to press heavyweights and live by the code, “no pain, no gain”. Just walk. That and a weekly brief workout with light weights for bone density strength and that’s all you really need to become and remain physically fit.
Walking correctly has a lot of benefits — from weight loss to reducing cardiovascular and dementia risks — and its simplicity lends itself to all ages and all walks of life. To walk correctly, you need not speed walk or put weights on your ankles or hands. You do not have to take 10,000 steps in a day. What you do need to do is take about 2500 steps in a day which is 30 to 45 minutes of medium pace walking and let the rest of your paces during the day make up 2,000 more paces to give you about 4,500 paces a day. This converts you from a couch potato into an active healthy individual. So, you need not jog, or speed walk. Just walk at a medium pace for 30 to 45 minutes no less than three times per week, but preferably 6 times per week. You can walk outside (preferred) if weather permits or on a treadmill.
Still not convinced? Check this out. Here is TEN well researched benefits of walking:
- It counteracts the actions of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers studied obesity-promoting genes in 12,000 obese people and found that in those who walked every day, the effects of these genes were slashed in half.
- It reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), walking at a reasonable pace for 150 minutes a week (30 minutes a day for 5 days a week) improves blood pressure and lowers blood cholesterol levels.
- It causes people to live longer (that means you, too). The AHA estimates that for every hour you walk, life expectancy for some people may increase by two hours. That’s a profitable investment. Walk one hour and live longer for two hours. Over years of daily walks (weather permitting), one can gain years of additional, quality life.
- Weight-bearing activity is critical for bone health. It’s called “osteogenic loading” and helps bone cells gather and absorb more calcium and other minerals to increase bone density. Walking with a wide stride helps load your bones to prevent osteoporosis. That’s why you do not need to walk fast. Just stretch those legs out and walk at a normal pace and your bones will love you for it.
- Walking eases anxiety and depression. A large study of Australian walking habits showed that moderate-intensity exercise such as walking improved the quality of life for middle-aged women. Be advised that one in 10 U.S. adults suffers from depression, according to the CDC, and women are 70% more likely to be depressed at some point in their lives than men. As a man I can understand that. If I had to paint my face and curl my hair every day, I would be depressed, too. 😉
- Walking also depresses the risk of developing breast cancer. An American Cancer Society study found that women who walked seven or more hours weekly had a 14% lower risk of developing breast cancer than those who walked three hours or less. So, if you have relatives that have had or now have breast cancer, you should make it a point to walk an hour a day, outdoors, weather permitting or on a treadmill every day
- Would you believe walking lowers your cravings for sweets? Yep, it does. Studies from the University of Exeter revealed that a 15-minute walk can reduce cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate consumed when your stressed out.
- Walking greatly eases joint pain. The Arthritis Foundation says that walking actually supports your joints by infusing them with oxygen rich blood and other nutrients that make up the lubrication needed for smoother operating bone joints. “If you don’t walk your joints do not get enough oxygenated blood lubricant which speeds up bone joint deterioration. So, give your bone joints a nice lube job. Go for a normal 30 minute walk 3 to 6 days per week. The more you walk, the smoother your bone joints will work.
- It boosts brain function in those with dementia. While some studies have shown that walking helps boost creative and cognitive thinking by getting “creative juices flowing,” (those juices are really blood with a higher oxygen content) a huge study by researchers at the University of British Columbia in Canada showed that people with dementia who walked for one hour, three times a week, not only had lower blood pressure but their brains showed improvement on cognitive tests. Researchers concluded that the walkers had more efficient brains and better thinking skills than the control group.
- Walking does boost your immune system. According to Harvard Health, a study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week, took 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less.
So dear reader, get off your couch and go for a nice walk most every day. You’ll look and feel better, think faster, remember things better, be stronger and live longer. What’s not to like about walking? Too hot, too cold, rain or snow… then drive to a large supermarket or Walmart and take six or seven laps inside or get a treadmill, put it in front of your TV to enjoy your favorite show or catch up on the news while taking your treadmill walk.