Why should you start walking? Walking for 30 to 60 minutes each day is one of the best things you can do for your body, mind, and spirit. Here are great reasons to lace up your sneakers and get started.
Walkers Live Longer
The Honolulu Heart Study of 8,000 men found that walking just two miles a day cut the risk of death almost in half. The walkers' risk of death was especially lower from cancer. Other studies have had similar findings – if you keep walking, you improve your chances of a longer and healthier life.
Walking Helps Prevent Weight Gain
If you add just 2,000 more steps a day to your regular activities, you may never gain another pound. So says research by Dr. James O. Hill of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. To lose weight, add in more steps.
You Can Walk off Weight
Exercise such as walking is an important part of any weight loss program. You must still watch how much you eat in order to lose weight. But walking helps you build healthy lean muscle, lose inches of fat, and pump up your metabolism. Of long-term successful weight losers, almost all maintain a program of walking or other exercises.
Walking Reduces Risk of Cancer
Study after study has shown that walking and exercise reduce your risk of breast cancer and colon cancer. Walking is also good for those undergoing cancer treatment, improving their chances of recovery and survival.
Walking Reduces Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke
Heart disease and stroke are among the top killers of both men and women. You can cut your risk of both in half by walking for 30-60 minutes a day. Get your blood moving.
Walking Reduces Diabetes Risk
Get out and walk for 30 minutes a day as your minimum daily requirement for health and to prevent Type 2 diabetes. A study by the Graduate School of Public Health, University of Pittsburgh, discovered that walking for 30 minutes a day cut diabetes risks for overweight as well as non-overweight men and women. Walking also helps maintain blood sugar balance for those with diabetes.
Walking Boosts Your Brain Power
A study of people over 60 funded by the National Council on Aging, published in the July 29, 1999 issue of Nature, found that walking 45 minutes a day at 16-minute mile pace increased the thinking skills of those over 60. The participants started at 15 minutes of walking and built up their time and speed. The result was that the same people were mentally sharper after taking up this walking program.
Walking Improves Mood and Relieves Stress
Walking and other exercise leads to the release of the body's natural happy drugs – endorphins. Most people notice an improvement in mood. A November 9, 1999 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that university students who walked and did other easy to moderate exercise regularly had lower stress levels than couch potatoes or those who exercised strenuously.
Walking Can Prevent Erectile Dysfunction
What better reason for men to take a brisk two-mile walk each day – a reduced risk of impotence from mid-life onward.
It's Easy to Get Started
All you need is a pair of comfortable shoes and to get yourself out the door or onto the treadmill. You can reap the benefits of walking from doing several shorter walks or one longer walk during the day.
So, get out there and start moving. Even a short walk is better than none. It’s easy and it’s really good for you!