Go for a walk today!
Research has shown that walking:
- Reduces the risk of lifestyle diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and Type II diabetes;
- Reduces risk of hypertension (high blood pressure);
- Reduces high cholesterol;
- Helps to prevent osteoporosis, by increasing bone density;
- Enhances mental well being (less prone to depression and anxiety);
- Helps osteoarthritis (joints have a wider range of motion);
- reduces mortality rates for both younger and older adults;
Recently neurologists at the University of Pittsburgh, USA have discovered that people who walk regularly on a weekly basis are less likely to suffer from senile dementia. The study was conducted over a 13 year period and it was found that those who walked on a regular basis were half as likely to develop memory problems.
How far should you walk? The ideal cumulative weekly distance was found to be between 6 and 9 miles a week, with no significant improvement walking any further. At about 1 mile a day, these distances are relatively easy to cover within a week.
Dr Kirk Erickson, the professor who led the study said:
“If regular exercise in mid-life could improve brain health and improve thinking and memory in later life, it is one more reason to make regular exercise in people of all ages a public health imperative.”
Sources: British Heart Foundation 2000, US Dept of Health 1996, UK Dept of Health 2000, Journal of Neurology 2010
Go for a Walk - here's a few suggestions:
- Leave the car at home for short journeys;
- get off a few bus stops early and walk the rest of the way;
- if you have one, take the dog for a walk more often;
- take your time, relax and enjoy your surroundings.
Treat walking as a natural part of the day rather than an 'exercise' regime. This will make it easier to integrate into your everyday life, reduce stress and to help put things into perspective.