8 Ways Daily Walks Improve Your Health
Think you can’t improve your health with less than a million hours a week at the gym? Guess again. Short-quick walks or longer moderately paced walks can have huge impacts on your health, especially if you do it daily. Take a look at these 8 reasons to get out there and walk every day.
Walking reduces body fat
A daily, moderate-paced walk has a ton of benefits, including weight management (when combined with a healthy diet), but science has also proven that picking up the pace a few times a week can help you shed more fat. Researchers found that women who did three fast-paced walks per week lost more fat than those who strolled at a moderate pace five times per week – even though they burned the same number of calories.
Walking lowers blood pressure
Not in the mood to move quickly? No problem. Moderate intensity walking is just as effective as jogging at lowering the risk of high blood pressure. And it doesn’t matter if you do your 30 minutes of walking all at once or in three 10-minute strolls spread throughout the day. Whichever way you choose to get your walks in, you’ll still lower your risk of high blood pressure.
Walking reduces anxiety and improves mood
Research on depression, anxiety, and exercise shows that walking releases ‘feel-good’ chemicals in the brain; increases your body temperature, which may have calming effects; and reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression. Walking outdoors in nature will also give you a dose of mood-boosting vitamin D.
Walking boosts immune function
A moderately paced 30- to 45-minute walk increases the amount of immune system cells in the body. Those immunity boosters remain elevated for hours after exercise and have a cumulative effect in protecting against illness over time.
Walking helps work out the kinks (mentally and physically)
Walking gives you time to think, to plan, and to come up with creative ideas for…anything. You may not set out to create a solution to the mess in your hall closet, but just getting out there and giving yourself space to think can result in all kinds of “aha moments.” Walking also helps reduce physical pain from arthritis and improves mobility loss for patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that causes pain and fatigue from clogged arteries in the legs.
Walking protects against dementia
The 2014 World Alzheimer’s Report identifies regular exercise as one of the ways to fight the onset and advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers have also found that walking at least six miles a week can decrease brain shrinkage. Plus, the improved cerebral blood flow you get from walking helps stave off dementia – maybe even more than doing crossword puzzles.
Walking prevents and slows osteoarthritis
The gentle, weight-bearing exercise of walking helps prevent both osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Walking helps maintain healthy cartilage and keeps the muscles around the joints strong, which helps protect the joints and staves off additional damage done by arthritis.
Walking reduces cancer risk
Researchers followed nearly 80,000 women for 11 years. None had been diagnosed with breast cancer at the start of the study. The women who got two-and-a-half hours of moderate aerobic exercise (or one hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise) per week were 42% less likely to die of breast cancer during the study as those who exercised less. Another study found that men who walked briskly for three hours per week in the early stages of prostate cancer were 60 percent less likely to need a second round of treatment for their cancer.
Need more than just medical attention?
At Bella Vista Health Center in Lemon Grove, we understand how lifestyle affects the healing and rehabilitation process. Exercise is an important part of whole-person wellness. This is why the patients in our care receive the medical attention they need as well as exercise, healthy nutrition, social activities, and anything else we can provide that supports their general well-being.
If you or a loved one is in need of a new home or a safe place to recover or rehabilitate, we welcome you to visit our five-star facility so you can experience our warm and nurturing environment firsthand.
Give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.