admin - August 23, 2013
If you’re walking, you’re moving – and movement is medicine. We know the health benefits of moving because being physically active can lower risk of a variety of health problems, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and more.
“Walking is the single best exercise we can recommend on a large scale,” said Bob Sallis, MD, physician-spokesperson for Everybody Walk!, a national public health campaign from Kaiser Permanente, in a Grandparents.com article. “Exercise is like a medication we should be prescribing for our patients…and the simplest exercise prescription is walking.”
Did you know there are more surprising health benefits of walking that you might not be aware of? Let’s explore them below:
One 15-minute walk after you eat dinner can lower your blood sugar.
That’s right – just 15 minutes of walking after dinner can lower your blood sugar levels for up to 24 hours. How? Walking burns up the sugar in your blood and strengthens your muscles so blood sugar can be used more efficiently.
For heart health, walking is just as good as running.
Hard to believe? Researchers examined long-term studies of runners and walkers and found that if you cover the same distance, your heart still benefits the same. Walking has the same health benefits for your heart, it just takes a little longer.
Walking is a direct stress and anxiety-reducer.
If you want a reliable way to lower your stress and/or anxiety levels, try walking. Especially among women going through menopause, walking has been seen to aid in stress-relief. Studies have shown that they more you walk, the greater the reduction in stress, anxiety and depression.
More walking means higher quality of life.
A study among men over 55 found that the more steps the men took, the better their physical and mental health. Those who walk have higher quality of life than those who don’t walk.
How fast you can walk is a good indicator of how long you’ll live.
If you can walk at a moderate pace as you age, studies show you may live longer than those who can’t. One Australia study found that among a group of men over age 70, those who passed away were primarily slow walkers, averaging just 1.8 miles per hour. Among those who could walk 3 miles per hour, none died.
The bottom line is this: walking is good for your health. If you’re walking you’re staying active, and that’s one of the best forms of medicine for your body. Movement is medicine, after all.
What’s your go-to form of exercise? If you like walking, what do you do to keep it enjoyable? Share with us in the comments below, or tweet it to @Life_Line with the hashtag #MovementIsMedicine.