Fitness News

Walking - The Benefits of Walking

Saturday, 5 July 2008

There is so much evidence to suggest of the huge benefits from exercise, however so many people have been brought up to simply dread exercise duet to being unfit growing up and being pushed to hard at school or by their parents.  Walking however is one form of exercise that can be done at all forms of fitness, and while socialising.  The benefits of walking are extensive and the best part is everyone can do it. 

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Even though walking can be fun and invigorating, the health benefits should not be underestimated.  In a foreign study, a group of 10,269 Harvard alumni who walked at least nine miles each week (14.5km) had a 22% lower death rate and those who climbed at least 55 flights of stairs each week had a 33% lower death rate. 

 Studies are now showing that the same health benefits can be attained from low intensity work outs.  This includes exercises such as walking, biking and gardening.  The most important part was the actual time spent exercising, rather than the intensity.  So in actual fact the old 'no pain, no gain' mentality does not stand true anymore. 

In a group of 44,452 American male professionals, who walked 30 minutes a day,  has resultant 18% lower risk for coronary artery disease.  A similar study for women who walked 1 hour per day had a 51% reduction from walking 1 hour per day.  The benefits are much more wide spread then heart disease alone, and it has in fact been suggested that insufficient exercise contributes to 4 of the leading causes of death in: heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. 

Type 2 diabetes is another condition largely affected by exercise.  The reason why exercise helps so much in the fight against Type 2 diabetes is that contracting muscles soak up blood sugars found in the blood stream and therefore play a role in keeping blood glucose at ‘normal levels’.  According to a study by Dr. Frank Booth, 30 – 50 % of all cases of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease an many cancers were prevented by 30 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each day.  It also goes on to say that 20 of the worlds most deadliest chronic diseases can be affected by physical activity. 

Walking can be much easier to get motivated for than high intensity exercise, especially when fitness levels are not high.  The most important message to take out of this article is that low intensity exercise such as walking has huge health benefits and should become part of your daily routine.  Some changes you can make to increase your walking each day include:

  • walk 15 minutes to and from work/ the train station,
  • take a walk to and from the café at lunch time, and
  • use the stairs at work and go at least a total of 15 floors per day (perhaps in 3 lots of 5 floors or however you like),

Find out what works best for you and give it a go, as the quality of your life is the most important thing. 

Create an exercise plan that suits your lifestyle. See the weight come off fast with a set of exercises that matches your fitness level, available time and individual body type.


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