As new research is constantly emerging, it’s hard to keep track of what health routine to add to your life. Some new trend comes out one year only to be replaced by another claiming better results. (Do you still have your barefoot running shoes?) But here’s an exercise that all healthcare professionals can agree on: walking. It’s low-impact, easy to start and the benefits are impressive. Allow me to walk you through a few of them!
From an orthopaedic perspective, walking is great for your bones and joints. It tones muscles support joints, and has been known to increase bone mass in patients with osteoporosis. As you walk, the cartilage surrounding your joints are stimulated by synovial fluid, which brings nutrients and oxygen to your joints through compression as your feet hit the pavement. This benefit also extends to fortifying bones in reducing the risk of fractures through the same concept; that moderate and low-impact exercise stimulates bones, joints and muscles.
Walking has also been proven to lower blood pressure, which decreases your risk of heart attack and stroke. As with many of the studies conducted on walking, it only takes a small amount to see improvement and the more walking you are able to do, the more the benefits seem to increase.
There is plenty of research supporting that walking increases not only the quality of our lives, but also its length. One study conducted by Harvard Medicine pooled together six other major walking studies, a data sample of over 650,000 people, and found that they could specifically calculate how many years walking may add to your life. The study, based on people over 40 who had been walking for 75 minutes a week for 10 years, found that they could expect to add 1.8 years to their lives. The study also found that as the walking time increased, the longevity did as well; those who walked 30 minutes a day, five days a week, could expect to live 3.4 years longer than those who didn’t exercise. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as walking increases circulation, bringing oxygen to all parts of the body, which in-turn fights disease.
Weight loss has many benefits. Along with looking and feeling better, it removes added stress on bones and joints, decreasing your overall impact, literally giving you a lighter footprint, which goes a long way in preserving joint and bone health.
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This is the bottom line: idleness causes atrophy, and movement stimulates growth. Start walking today to start building muscle, burning fat and increasing blood flow to your entire body. And not only is walking good for you, it’s also enjoyable, and can easily be shared with a friend or pet. Take the first step to integrate a walking routine into your life and begin to experience a healthier and longer life!