Sourced with thanks from 247wallst.com
How often have you heard this – “Walking is good for you “? Countless times we are sure. But have you got down to bringing a good walk into your daily routine? Many of you likely to answer in the negative. This article below will hopefully many more of you to walk regularly. The author has put together a number of reasons why walking is good for you. Given that the number of reasons are many the article has been broken up in two. Here is Part 2 of 2. Team RetyrSmart
Build walking into your daily routine. It’s really good for you (Part 2)
The rule of thumb is to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week. Breaking the numbers down, that’s 30 minutes five days a week. This sounds like a small price to pay if you want to significantly improve both your physical and mental health. It’s low-impact, simple, natural, accessible, and has many health benefits.
- Boosts immune system
Want to keep away colds and the flu? Walking is a tonic for boosting your immune system. According to a study by Appalachian State University in North Carolina, a brisk walk for about 30 to 45 minutes a day can increase the number of immune system cells in your body. Dr. David Nieman of the university, who conducted the research, has studied the effects of exercise, diet, weight, gender, and education levels on people’s health at the university. In his findings he said that “regular aerobic exercise, five or more days per week for more than 20 minutes a day, rises above all other lifestyle factors in lowering sick days during the winter and fall cold seasons.”
- Lowers bad cholesterol
Commonly known as “bad” cholesterol, LDL stands for low-density lipoproteins. LDL is “bad” because high levels of it can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease.
How exactly walking lowers “bad” cholesterol is not entirely clear, but many experts think the connection is simple — exercise, walking included, helps a person lose weight, which helps lower cholesterol. Losing just 5% of body weight can result in a significantly lower LDL levels.
To find Retirement friendly inputs in your Inbox
Subscribe to our Newsletter
- Lowers the risk for cancer
Walking every day can help lower the risk of developing certain types of cancer. A study of about 140,000 people, with an average age of 69, by the American Cancer Society found a link between walking at an average to brisk pace and lower risk of breast and colon cancers. Researchers concluded that really all levels of walking can reduce the mortality risk. Even people walking as little as two hours a week were less likely to die than those who engaged in no physical activity at all. A 2016 study published in JAMA Internal Medicine found that exercise may lower the risk of 13 types of cancer.
Walking may have an indirect effect on lowering the risk of cancer. The exercise can result in weight loss. Obesity is a major risk factor for cancer and expected to become the leading cause of the disease within just a few years, according to Prevent Cancer Foundation.
- Helps with digestion
An old belief was that walking immediately after eating caused fatigue and stomach discomfort. According to a study published in the International Journal of General Medicine in 2011, however, walking right after eating at a brisk pace for 30 minutes leads to more weight loss than waiting for an hour after eating before walking. Blood sugar levels surge after eating, and if people start walking as soon as possible after a meal, the spike in blood sugar level will be limited.
- Prevents dementia
Taking a 20-minute walk each day could reduce the risk of developing dementia by 40%, according to a research study conducted by neurologists at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. Dr. Jay Van Gerpen, who helped prepare the study, said dementia is often connected with obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and vascular diseases that impede the flow of blood to the brain, leading to a decline in brain tissue and memory function. Walking regularly can diminish the risk of blocked blood flow.
- Increases lung capacity
When people think of exercising, they usually think of weight loss and heart health. But the lungs benefit tremendously from regular physical activity. Walking increases lung capacity and strengthens the lungs, which makes breathing easier. When you walk, or when you exercise in general, the body uses more oxygen and circulation speeds up. This increases your breathing reserve. In other words, you are less likely to be short of breath.
- Good for old age
Long-term regular physical activity, including walking, is associated with “significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline in older women,” according to a 2004 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study included nearly 19,000 women aged 70 to 81 who were assessed for cognitive decline over two years. It found that women who walked at an easy pace for at least 1.5 hours a week had higher cognitive scores than those who walked less than 40 minutes a week.
- Increases productivity
Next time you feel stuck and need to produce a steady flow of creative thought, you may want to try walking. A 2014 Stanford study found that people who walked saw an increase of 60% in creative output compared with people who remained seated while taking a divergent thinking test. It’s worth mentioning that walking helps boost creative brainstorming, but if you need to find a single, correct answer to a problem, you should sit down and focus. In this case, walking is only a distraction, according to the study.
- Improve fluid intelligence
Fluid intelligence is a psychology term that simply refers to a person’s ability to think logically and solve problems. According to a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, aerobic exercise, such as walking, improves cognition due to certain hormones that are at increased levels during exercise.
A recent Australian study found that aerobic exercise enhances fluid intelligence in people who have had a stroke if combined with cognitive training such as memory exercises.
- Reduce PMS symptoms
Every month, for a few days or a week, about 90% of women complain of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Symptoms can range from mild, such as bloating, to severe such as debilitating headaches. Women can try walking to alleviate the pain. Some research has found that aerobic sessions, such as walking, for 60 minutes three times a week for eight weeks makes women feel much better physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Exercising muscles in feet
You don’t necessarily think about good foot health when you are walking. Walking, however, is a beneficial exercise to the ligaments as well as the bones in your feet. A good exercise is walking barefoot in sand, which will stretch and strengthen the ligaments in the feet because the softness of the sand makes walking more physically stressful.
- Reduces acid reflux
Walking can help reduce the symptoms of acid reflux as well decrease the number of acid reflux episodes. High-impact exercise can exacerbate acid reflux, and medical experts suggest lower-impact options such as walking and light jogging.
- Reduces arthritis pain
Walking may turn out to be a medicine for painful inflammation in any joint, according to the Arthritis Foundation. Walking strengthens the muscles, which results in less pressure on the joints and thus less pain. An indirect effect may be weight loss. A healthy weight lessens stress on the joint, also alleviating pain. Walking on a regular basis releases the cartilage in knees, improving circulation, and thus removing inflammatory waste products from the joints.
- Lowers blood pressure
There are plenty of hypertension medications out there. But some may come with side effects. A drug-free approach to lowering blood pressure may be a brisk walk a day. Some research suggests the walks should be about 40 minutes long, others between 10 and 30 minutes. Regular exercise makes the heart stronger, and a stronger heart pumps blood with less effort. As a result, the force in your arteries decreases, lowering blood pressure.
- More regular bathroom visits
Another benefit of frequent walking is regular trips to the bathroom. This is because research found that walking helps accelerate digestion and leads to more regular removal of waste. More sedentary people tend to have slower digestive systems. Bowels slow down and stool becomes hard, making it difficult to pass. This can lead to constipation. Aerobic exercise stimulates breathing and heart rate, helping the natural squeezing of muscles in your intestines, moving the waste from your body faster.