Health Benefits of Walking

The human body is an amazing creation, capable of incredible feats provided it’s well maintained.  Our bodies are built to move, but for far too many people, long periods of inactivity staring at a computer screen or TV is

There is mounting evidence that sitting for hours at our computers or in front of the big-screen is slowly draining our bodies of their potential.  Sitting for extended periods leads to slouching which strains the back and spinal cord.  It also prevents the chest from expanding so we get less oxygen, and constricts our veins and arteries which reduces blood flow.

A sedentary lifestyle also increases your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some forms of cancer.

For many of us, finding time for the gym or fitness center can be tough.  But research has shown that simple walking provides several health benefits.  Walking exercises your muscles and lungs, strengthens your heart, and produces endorphins which improve your mood.  Walking is a great, low-impact activity for people of all ages.

Older adults who walk more than six miles per week are less likely to experience memory loss caused by brain shrinkage.  And walking can not only help prevent heart disease, but reduce its symptoms in people who suffer from the condition.  In a recent study of nearly 9.000 patients, produced a 26% reduction in the risk of death from heart disease and a 20% reduction in the overall death rate.

Even people with busy schedules can find ways to incorporate walking into their daily routines.  Simple things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator and parking your car near the back of the lot when going to the store can help make an impact.  If you take the bus to work, try getting off a stop or two before your destination and walk the rest. These may seem like small things but over time they can help you get into the habit of walking.

If you live in an urban center or suburb, there’s a good chance there’s walking and jogging trail nearby. Taking short walks around your neighborhood can improve your overall health and help you get to know your neighbors at the same time.  Large shopping malls are a great place to walk If inclement weather prevents you from getting outdoors.

For most people, the hardest part of developing a healthy walking regimen is taking the first step. But don’t let excuses get in your way.  Just be sure tostart off small to let your body get accustomed to you new, healthy lifestyle and gradually add time and distance to your routine over time.

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