Take A Walk

Walking is something that many of us may take for granted at times because we can get up and walk at any time. Not everyone has the ability to walk and walking really is something precious and beneficial in our lives. The posts on this website recently have been exploring the benefits of the creative arts and in the same spirit it is time to explore the benefits of walking on our physical and mental health.

So how can walking benefit our mental and physical health?

Helps with weight management – Walking briskly for 30 minutes has the potential to burn up to 200 calories.

May protect against dementia – The 2014 World Alzheimer’s Report revealed that regular exercise is one of the best ways to help delay the onset and advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. To help prove the point of the benefits of walking and exercise, a study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh did a series of brain scans on elders that walked at least six miles a week that showed less shrinkage in the brain. So how does walking lead to results such as the ones above? Walking improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease which may help you ward off dementia.

Helps prevent osteoarthritis – Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones thin and since walking is a great form of weight-bearing exercise it may helps prevent the condition, in addition to the degenerative disease that causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness, osteoarthritis.

Helps strengthen muscles – Walking tones leg and abdominal muscles and possible arm muscles if you are pumping them while you walk.

Helps prevent or control diabetes – According to a government study, The Diabetes Prevention Program, even a small amount of weight loss has the potential to delay and even possibly prevent the onset of diabetes. As shared above walking is a great method for helping to maintain a healthy body weight. A spokesperson for the American Association of Diabetes Educators, Tami Ross, RD, LD, as reported by Everyday Health, shared that walking 20- to 30-minutes a day can help lower blood sugar for 24 hours.

May lower your risk for heart disease – The American Heart Association reports that walking for 30 minutes a day can lower your risk for stroke and heart disease! Walking regularly also helps lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, brings up heart rate, and strengths the heart.

May help reduce pain – As strange it sounds, walking actually helps reduce arthritis pain and by walking one hour a day it may help reduce pain and prevent disability. A study published in Arthritis Care and Research found that the threshold for predicting who would go on to develop disabilities or not was 6,000 steps.

Helps your joints – As much of joint cartilage receives no direct blood supply, it gathers nutrition form synovial or joint fluid that circulates as the joints move. When moving the joints, such as when walking, the cartilage “squishes” and receives oxygen and nutrients from the synovial fluid.

Improves breathing – While walking, the body increases your breathing rate, which causes oxygen to travel faster through bloodstream. This helps eliminate waste products, improves energy levels, and improves your ability to heal.

Improves your mood – One of the emotional benefits of walking is a lighter mood. A study out of California State University, Long Beach, showed that the more steps people took throughout the day, the better their moods appeared. This happens because walking releases endorphins, the natural painkillers of the body.

Plus walking may reduce cancer risk and help you live longer.

Walking really does play a role in our physical and mental health. Hope to see you out there!

Please Notes: This post is not intended as medical advice. Always make sure to speak with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise program.

Resources and References:
Arthristis Foundation – 12 Benefits of Walking
Mayo Clinic – Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health
Everyday Health – 10 Reasons to Go for a Walk Right Now
Harvard Health – Walking: Your Steps to Health
The Washington Post – The many benefits of walking 30 minutes a day
American Heart Association – Walk, Don’t Run, Your Way to a Healthy Heart
Active – The physical and psychological benefits of walking
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease – Walking… A Step in the Right Direction!
Huffington Post – Health Benefits of Walking
IU Health Blog – Benefits of Walking

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