Having a tough time actualizing your 2011 health plan (a.k.a. resolutions)? Not a problem. According to our guest blogger today, Tara Miller, studies show you can reap mega health benefits if you decide to simply start walking!
Everyone has that one friend (or more than one) who hits the gym religiously, doing weight training, cardio, maybe a few classes like jazzercise or whatever the latest trend is. Even if they don’t intend it, they make you feel guilty about not being an exercise-aholic like them.
But for many of us who desire a healthy life, we simply don’t have the time to devote to being gym rats. What to do?
The good news is that exercising isn’t an all-or-nothing endeavor. In other words, you don’t have to participate in vigorous exercise in order to get all the benefits.
Many studies suggest that walking may be enough. In fact, walking may have more benefits than other forms of exercise.
According to a recent study, as reported by the BBC, walking regularly can improve your memory. The study, conducted by Professor Krik Erkison and his research team from the University of Pittsburgh, used 120 volunteers in their 60s who were observed over a year-long period.
The researchers found that those who walked at least forty minutes three times a week had increased the size of their hippocampus by 2%. Another group of the volunteers did only stretching and toning exercises, and their hippocampus, a part of the brain that controls memory, decreased by 1.4%, which is about the normal rate of hippocampus atrophy in older individuals.
Another recent study which surveyed 13,000 women, was published in the Journal of Internal Medicine. It demonstrated that women who had reached 70 who walked briskly on a regular basis were much more likely to stave off diseases common to those who are aging, like osteoporosis, heart disease and diabetes. The study did note, however, that walking briskly, exerting yourself more than you normally would, was more effective in fighting off aging.
Beyond the aging process, however, walking can be beneficial to weight loss, too. A ThatsFit article details the advantages of walking for people who are looking to shed a few pounds can accrue. Although, of course, walking won’t burn as many calories as high intensity work-outs, walking is a much more sensible and easier-to-stick-to exercise plan. And the more consistent you are, the better your chances of success.
According to this article, a top weight loss strategy for those in the National Weight Control Registry who had lost more than thirty pounds and kept it for year was, you guessed, it walking.
So put on those walking shoes and have a stroll around the block. Every once in a while, pick up the pace. You could even get your walking time in during work when you take breaks, or on your way to an appointment.
Walking is pretty much one of the only exercise methods that is amenable to every age group and can be accomplished anywhere without the need of equipment, so take advantage of it! You don’t have to be a gym fiend to be active and healthy!
About the Author
This guest contribution was submitted by Tara Miller, who particularly enjoys writing about psychology degree. Questions and comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more benefits of walking, check out our past post, A Walk a Day Keeps the Doc Away. Do you think walking is all you need to get healthier?