Live a Healthier Lifestyle Simply by Walking!July 10, 2017
The best thing we can do for our health...
There are 24 hours in a day, and even if you have a busy job that keeps you at the office for most of it, it’s likely that you have at least a little bit of down time to spend each day doing whatever you want.
It varies for everyone, obviously, but often times a lot of the day is spent sitting at work, sleeping, or relaxing to watch TV. Such a sedentary lifestyle can lead to so many different problems including weight gain, poor cardiovascular health, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Genetics plays a role in the development of these things as well, but inactivity is probably the easiest thing that we can change about our lifestyle, and it will undoubtedly make a huge difference in our overall health.
What do you need to know?
Let’s take a look at the evidence through the lens of Doctor Mike Evans, a physician and professor who utilizes his talents for developing innovative health messaging for the world.
His work has been shared through many medical journals, podcasts, and also through family magazines in hopes to reach large audiences to change our health for the better. In his search through medical literature to find out what makes the biggest positive impact on our health, he found one intervention that presented itself time and time again, and constantly showed improvements in health for populations affected by a variety of diseases and diagnoses.
This intervention has been shown to:
- Reduce pain in people with knee arthritis by 47% when received for 1 hour 3 times a week
- Decrease the progression of dementia and Alzheimer’s by 57%
- Reduce the risk of developing diabetes by 58%
- Reduce the risk of hip fracture in post-menopausal women by 41% when treatment was received 4 hours per week
- Reduce anxiety by 48% in people diagnosed with anxiety disorder and depression
- Be the number one treatment for fatigue
- Improve the overall quality of life
What is this intervention, you ask?
Exercise. Even if it’s only walking.
Walking is beneficial for at least 30 minutes a day, even better if for 1 hour. No matter who you are, almost anyone can benefit from a regular walking program to help live a healthier life because it works for so many different health problems! That doesn’t sound too hard, does it?
Longitudinal health studies by Stephen Blair, a professor at the Arnold School of Public Health in South Carolina, found that low cardiorespiratory fitness is the strongest predictor of death, even more than hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. He also found that people who are obese and do not exercise are at greater risk for health problems than obese people who exercise regularly. What is so great is that regular exercise, like staying on a walking program, improves health and reduces the risk of health problems from hypertension, smoking, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
How often should we exercise?
In regards to dosage, medical literature states that the more activity you do, the better. However, the rate of return appears to decline after 30 minutes or so a day. Adults should be exercising for at least 150 minutes per week, or about 30 minutes each day, and more for kids – about 1 hour per day. You can break these 30 minutes up if you like to make it better fit your busy life style, for example you can walk for 3 bouts of 10 minutes to accumulate your 30 minutes of activity, such as brisk walking, each day.
If you don’t have 30 minutes to dedicate toward exercise per day, try working out at a higher intensity for only 15-20 minutes. Don’t bite off more than you can chew; it’s important to set realistic goals that are achievable.
If you’ve ever been told by your physician that you have high blood pressure, then listen up, this is for you. A research study from Japan that followed employees who walked to work found that there were positive health benefits for those who walked longer on their way to work. They found no difference in blood pressure with people who walked 10 minutes to work, a 12% reduction in the rate of high blood pressure in those who walked 11-20 minutes to work, and a 29% reduction in the rate of high blood pressure in those who walked 21 minutes or more to work. From this research, the authors predicted a 12% reduction in risk of developing high blood pressure for every addition of 10 minutes to ones walking program.
So was Hippocrates right when he said that “walking is man’s best medicine”?
Is it do-able to limit your sitting and sleeping to just 23.5 hours of the day and spend the other 30 minutes walking or doing something active? It’ll be worth it, and your health will thank you!
If you need further convincing, listen to and watch Dr. Evans’ podcast on YouTube and let us know what you think in the comments below!