Did You Know…
…walking can greatly improve your mental and physical health, and may even help you live longer?
You really can walk your way to wellness. That’s what study after study is showing, and that’s great news, because walking is easy, free, and quite attainable for most of us who are not afflicted with a debilitating sickness or injury.
You can fit walking into your lifestyle as you see fit, whether it’s with a 30-minute walk after dinner every day, or three 10-minute walks spread throughout the day.
Work Your Muscles, Lose Weight and Activate Gene Expression
The majority of us tend to live sedentary lives, and sitting as much as we do can cause our glute muscles to atrophy. It is no wonder standing desks have become so popular! Walking, however, activates your glute muscles in ways standing cannot. Plus, the extra movement can naturally help you shed body fat and burn more calories.
Walking also activates positive gene expression. Studies show that walking can beneficially influence the genes involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism in skeletal muscles. Walking can also help calm inflammation in body fat tissue, and reduce oxidative and inflammatory gene expression pathways in older adults.
Lower Cholesterol, Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Levels
Walking after a meal can help lower your risk for heart disease and diabetes by regulating blood sugar and cholesterol levels. A 2008 study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition revealed that walking briskly for 3-minutes ten times a day, or taking one brisk 30-minute walk, can lower triglyceride levels and blood pressure.
Another study published in 2013 in Diabetes Care showed that a 15-minute walk after a meal improved blood glucose control in seniors with poor glucose tolerance.
Strengthen Your Immune System and Live Longer
According to a 2005 study published in the journal Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, a 30-minute walk can strengthen immunity by increasing the production of immune system markers such as natural killer T-cells.
Another study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 2013 found that postmenopausal women taking part in a walking training program didn’t experience the usual adverse immune effects propagated by menopause.
Research even indicates that walking quickly may help you live longer. In 2013, the prestigious medical journal PLoS One published a study that showed that among 7000 male and 31,000 female recreational walkers, those who walked the fastest were the least likely to die.
Perfect for Arthritis Sufferers
Walking is gentle enough for arthritis sufferers who struggle with other forms of exercise. A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggests that walking, alongside weight lifting, can help improve balance in older adults with osteoarthritis. Walking can also help prevent falls, as evidenced in a 2010 study that showed when older people hiked on uneven terrain, they enjoyed improvements in balance and had a lower likelihood of falling.
Boost Memory, Creativity and Concentration
Walking also enhances cognitive function. It gives you time to think, work through problems to arrive at solutions, and boosts creativity. Studies show walking can help improve memory in seniors and innovation and imagination in young and healthy individuals. You can also incorporate meditation into your daily walks to help lower cortisol levels and better manage stress. Any form of meditation will do. You can concentrate on your breath or on a mantra, but either way, take those legs out on a walk!