The Wonders of Walking

My preferred exercise is walking. I have posted before how walking energises me and why I enjoy walking alone or with a friend.

There are many wonders of walking that make it a great exercise. The following info comes from Drs Oz and Roizen Speak Out and Walk Off Weight a book by Andrew Cate.

As Drs Oz and Roizen say, what’s not to love about walking? It makes you healthier, gives you more energy, and makes you younger, lets you talk with friends, think through problems, and see what’s new in the neighbourhood. Walking is free. OK, gadgets like my GPS watch are cool, but they are not necessary. And even the most unfit person can do it – just start with a slow pace for a few minutes and build up.

So what are the proven health benefits of walking?

1. Walking protects the heart, lowers blood pressure and helps lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and raise HDL (good) cholesterol. As I posted here, I need to lower my LDL and total cholesterol levels. I also have a heart condition. Who doesn’t want to fend off the number 1 killer: heart disease?

2. Walking can slim you down. I will post more on walking for weight loss in a future post. 2013 being the year of lean, and all.

3. Walking improves bone density. We know from the Strong Women books, that you need weight bearing exercise to protect your upper body from bone loss, but walking decreases bone loss too, as it is a weight bearing exercise. The weight being you! As your bones respond to the force of hitting the ground and working against gravity, they grow more bone. The benefits will be in your legs and lower spine. As with all exercise, consistency is the key. For bone density improvement Cate says you should aim for 30 to 45 minutes of mild-intensity walking every day, walking more if you miss a day.

4. Walking reduces stress. Studies have shown that walking benefits your mood — and may even ward off depression and anxiety. By changing the focus of my mind from whatever it is that is worrying me, to the repetitive, meditative action of walking and by relieving muscle tension, walking really lifts my mood!

5. Walking can help improve the patterns of your sleep. (I haven’t seen this yet. Improving my sleep hygiene is an ongoing battle in which I self-sabotage myself.)

6. Walking keeps you sharp. According to Drs Oz and Roisen, “physical activity nourishes brain tissue and stimulates its production of neurons, synapses, and blood vessels. Some studies have found that walking can counter faltering memories in people over age 50.” I have a big fear of getting Alzheimer’s or senile dementia – one of my grandmothers died from Alzheimer’s! I know that this is different from general memory loss, but anything I can do, can’t hurt.

7. Walking boosts your immune system. Regular walking can lower your risk of arthritis, macular degeneration, cancer and diabetes.

Today’s decluttered item = I finished this book while on holidays and left it for a friend to read. When she is finished, she will donate it to her church’s charity shop.

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