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  #1  
Old 04-24-2006, 04:23 PM
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Default Walking your way to better health

The Numerous Benefits of Walking

If a daily fitness walk could be put in a pill, it would be one of the most popular prescriptions in the world. It has so many health benefits. Walking can reduce the risk of many diseases — from heart attack and stroke to hip fracture and glaucoma. These may sound like claims on a bottle of snake oil, but they’re backed by major research. Walking requires no prescription, the risk of side effects is very low, and the benefits are numerous:

Managing your weight. Combined with healthy eating, physical activity is key to any plan for long-lasting weight control. Keeping your weight within healthy limits can lower your risks of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis.

Controlling your blood pressure. Physical activity strengthens the heart so it can pump more blood with less effort and with less pressure on the arteries. Staying fit is just as effective as some medications in keeping down blood pressure levels.

Decreasing your risk of heart attack. Exercise such as brisk walking for three hours a week — or just half an hour a day — is associated with a 30% to 40% lower risk of heart disease in women. (Based on the 20-year Nurses’ Health Study of 72,000 female nurses.)

Boosting the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL), known as "good" cholesterol. Physical activity helps reduce low-density lipoproteins (LDL or "bad" cholesterol) in the blood, which can cause plaque buildup along the artery walls — a major cause of heart attacks.

Lowering your risk of stroke. Regular, moderate exercise equivalent to brisk walking for an hour a day, five days a week, can cut the risk of stroke in half, according to a Harvard study of more than 11,000 men.

Reducing your risk of breast cancer and Type 2 diabetes. The Nurses’ Health Study also links regular activity to risk reductions for both these diseases. In another study, people at high risk of diabetes cut their risk in half by combining consistent exercise like walking with lower fat intake and a 5% to 7% weight loss.

Avoiding your need for gallstone surgery. Regular walking or other physical activity lowers the risk of needing gallstone surgery by 20% to 31%, found a Harvard study of more than 60,000 women ages 40 to 65.

Protecting against hip fracture. Consistent activity diminishes the risk of hip fracture, concludes a study of more than 30,000 men and women ages 20 to 93.

The advantages go on and on. Many other studies indicate a daily brisk walk also can help:

Prevent depression, colon cancer, constipation, osteoporosis, and impotence
Lengthen lifespan
Lower stress levels
Relieve arthritis and back pain
Strengthen muscles, bones, and joints
Improve sleep
Elevate overall mood and sense of well-being.

Keep it Steady A steady routine is the most important factor in getting the most out of your exercise program. Walking for 30 minutes, 5 times a week is recommended.

Use these tips to keep you on track:

During your walks, you should be able to maintain a conversation. If you’re breathing too lightly, increase your pace. If you can’t catch your breath, slow it down.

Walk around the local area after lunch or dedicate 15 minutes to walking up and down stairs. Climbing is an excellent way to strengthen your heart.
At night, trade a half hour of TV for a brisk stroll around the block. Take a friend with you for company or get the whole family involved.

The Best Medicine
Any amount of walking is good, but for the best health results, set a brisk pace and walk for 30 minutes at least 5 times a week. Be sure to check with your doctor on the level of exercise that’s best for you.

Resource: http://www.aarp.org/health/fitness/w...sbenefits.html
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:35 PM
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Thank you Michele..that's exactly what I was looking for ..

Too many of my friends say they don't have time to exercise, can't join a gym or don't have the expertise to take up a sport.

As your post points out walking is simple, effective and anyone can do it regardless of age or skill level...

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Old 04-24-2006, 04:38 PM
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I couldn't agree more. I have been a walker since my early 20's and never bore with it!!!!!!
I always have someone with me and have always have my German shepherd. (grew up with them.)
When my kids were babies I taught them abc's and 1 2 3's while walking and my daughter picked up some French.
We also study trees and nature while walking only stopping occasionally.
It's fun.
Another benefit is if you go with hubby someone is there to hold your hand
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Old 04-24-2006, 04:41 PM
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Great Info! Remember, Move it or you Lose it!

I love walking. you are exercising without feeling like you are exercising. I walked 2miles 4 days a week when I was pregnant and it made a huge difference in how I felt. Now I just tell my little boy, "Let's go for a little walk." He always wants to go and we have some of our best conversations then.
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Old 04-25-2006, 03:21 PM
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Those are all wonderful suggestions! ..


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Old 04-25-2006, 05:52 PM
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that's great. i also walk at least 4 miles per day. sometimes i will walk twice. i just started walking about a month and a half ago and i already can see a difference in the amount of energy i have. it's a great feeling and you don't feel so guilty either when you eat something
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