During the cost and wet winter months, it can be challenging physically and mentally to stay on track with fitness and health goals. This is a time where schedules are modified, and the holidays present their own set of challenges. Incorporating a low impact and an easy to perform source of fitness can keep you on track. Walking can be modified with increasing speed or incline of the walk to create a higher hear rate. 150 minutes per week of low to moderate intensity cardiovascular exercise is recommended. See the facts below for more benefits of walking.
- Walking fights off heart disease, raises the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart. Post-menopausal women who walk just one to two miles a day can lower their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40% when they stepped up the pace.
- Walking can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis. In fact, one study of post-menopausal women found that 30 minutes of walking each day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40%.
- Research finds that people who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties are 35% less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts. That number shoots up to 45% less likely for those who have underlying health conditions.
- Studies found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk.
- Walking tones your leg and abdominal muscles – and even arm muscles if you pump them as you walk. This increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles.
- When walking, your breathing rate increases, causing oxygen to travel faster through bloodstream, helping to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and the ability to heal.
- It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.
Walk It Out!
sources: Arthritis Foundation and Harvard Health