Walk Into a Better You
The average adult is sedentary for 69% of their waking day. Being sedentary and inactive is the second leading preventable cause of death in North America. Knowing these facts, don’t you want to do something to take control of your life? It can really be as simple as walking.
We all know that exercise is the key to many of the benefits of good health, but sometimes the task of joining a gym or finding the motivation to get into high intensity training is all too daunting. We see our neighbours out there running and we know we should be too but it seems too hard! Here’s the simple answer: just walk. If you start walking every day you will be able to start reaping some of the exercise benefits. We’ve outlined here some of the big changes you’ll experience.
Walking is excellent for the brain. Studies have shown that walking increases the area of brain activity which can positively affect memory, attention and decision-making skills. Walking is an excellent mood booster and it gives us time to think. People who walk regularly reported 47% reduction in depression symptoms; they felt they had gained more control over their lives. There’s also an added bonus to walking in wooded areas and natural pathways. Walking out amongst nature has been clinically proven to reduce stress, it also alleviates symptoms of ADD and has even been shown to increase the levels of anti-cancer protein cells! Walking just 1km a day can lower your chance of Alzheimer’s by 35%. Get those feet moving for your brain’s sake!
For people nearing 70, or those that are overweight, your chance of getting diabetes increases as your pancreas’ insulin secretion becomes sluggish and your muscles become more insulin resistant. If you start walking once a day for 45 minutes you can delay the onset of diabetes. If there were a medication that could help you do that, you’d take it! But this walking thing is even better. And it’s free! The best time to walk to experience these benefits is 30 minutes after meals. If you go for a 15 minute stroll after meals this improves insulin sensitivity in the muscles and also helps your muscles clear glucose more efficiently. It’s that easy to walk away from diabetes.
Our clinic sees many patients with arthritis and those of us that suffer from arthritic knee pain can find it difficult to get motivated to do any exercise. Clinical studies have shown that just going for a 40-60 minute walk just 3 to 5 times a week can reduce arthritic knee pain by 30%. That is MORE effective than any over the counter pain reliever you can take. And the extra bonus is that when you start losing weight from all your walking you can reach a 50% reduction in arthritic pain. Even if you can only start out walking slowly, after a while you will gain speed and the fitness benefits will increase.
If all this wasn’t enough for you to put your shoes on then we’ll also let you know that walking can reduce your chances of developing cancer! Women walking at least 75 minutes a week, that’s a short 11 minute walk every day, are 18% less likely to get breast cancer. And for women who were already diagnosed with breast cancer there are still benefits; those who walked a mere 3 hours a week were 40% less likely to die of breast cancer than those that were inactive. For those with colorectal cancer walking gave them a 35% chance over those that were inactive.
Walking is a fun, easy, free way to keep in shape and stay healthy. We can all do it. Keep a goal of at least 7,000 steps, with at least half of those at a brisk pace. This will ensure you make the most out of your walks! Bring a friend or make it a family thing, once it becomes more fun it will become more regular. Lace up your shoes, keep a confident posture, and get out there.