10 Reasons Why Walking Is Wonderful
Walking is the ultimate easy-to-do, good-for-you exercise, and for those with knees tender from osteoarthritis, it can be done at your own pace. Start slowly — try for three 10-minute outings a day at first — and add speed, hills and longer distances as your endurance and strength builds. If you haven’t already begun a walking program, here are 10 good reasons why you should.
#1 - Walking improves circulation
It wards off heart disease, brings up heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart. One study showed that postmenopausal women who walked just one to two miles a day lowered blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Women who walked 30 minutes a day reduced their risk of stroke by 20 percent — and 40 percent when they stepped up the pace.
#2 Walking lowers the risk of fractures
Any exercise that places your body’s weight on your legs helps build stronger bones. In one study, women who walked 30 minutes a day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40 percent.
#3 - Walking supports joints
It tones muscles that, in turn, support the joints. Strong leg, abdominal and lower back muscles take the burden off knees and lower-body joints.
#4 - Walking improves sleep
In a study of women age 50 to 75, those who took one-hour morning walks were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk.
#5 - Walking slows mental decline
One study of 6,000 women, age 65 and older, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more.
#6 - Walking lowers Alzheimer's risk
One study showed that men between the ages of 71 and 93 who walked more than a quarter of a mile a day had half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease compared with those who walked less.
#7 - Walking lightens mood
Research shows that walking 30 minutes a day may boost mood faster than antidepressants do. Why? Walking releases natural pain-killing endorphins into the body.
#8 - Walking burns calories
When you burn more calories than you consume, you’ll lose weight, which has benefits of its own, including less stress on painful joints.
#9 - Walking brings you closer
Walking is a good way to spend time with friends or family members and enjoy nature.
#10 - Walking is economical
A good pair of shoes is all you really need — no expensive lessons, gear or gym memberships. You can do it outside around town or inside at the mall. Whatever place and pace you choose, just get moving!
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PLEASE NOTE: This article is presented for informational purposes only and is not meant to take the place of the advice of your doctor. By providing you with this information, Genzyme Corporation is not endorsing its content. You should consult with your doctor before starting any new health regimen.
Adapted from Arthritis Today®, the health magazine published by the Arthritis Foundation®. The views presented herein are solely those of Arthritis Today and their publisher the Arthritis Foundation. Genzyme Corporation does not have any input in, or editorial control over Arthritis Today and is not responsible for its content. Arthritis Today is a registered trademark of the Arthritis Foundation.