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Friday, July 17, 2015

Nutrition Action Cover Story: 7 Reasons To Walk

Making a lifestyle change that incorporates physical activity on a daily basis may not be as daunting as one would think. The June Issue of Nutrition Action discusses the importance of walking and covers 7 different reasons why walking is so very good for you. 

1) Build a bigger, sharper brain. As Arthur Kramer, a University of Illinois psychologist points out,"Walking definitely affects the brains of adults in their 60s, 70s and 80s. Exercising by walking tends to buy you a few extra years of avoiding Alzheimer's and other dementias. If we had a drug that would do that, we'd pay anything for it". 

2) Live Longer. As Charles Matthews of the National Cancer Institute stated, Americans typically spend two-thirds of their day sitting and that's equivalent to almost two full-time jobs every week! That's a lot of sitting. And it has a really negative effect on our health."

3) Ease your aching knees. Being mobile and "out and about" is very crucial, especially as we get older. In fact, walking for 40 to 60 minutes 3-5 times a week, can alleviate the pain of arthritis in the knees by as much as 30 percent. 

4) Improve Your Mood. "Exercise appears to work in a way similar to antidepressant medications", says exercise psychologist Panteleimon Ekkekakis of Iowa State University. Pretty impressive. Also, since 2010, American Psychiatric Association guidelines recognizes that exercise is very helpful in treating mild depression.

5) Lower the risk of cancer. "People who are more physically active, including those who walk for exercise, are less likely to develop one of the major cancers," says researcher Christine Friedenreich of the University of Calgary in Canada.

6) Strengthen your heart. Howard Sesso, an epidemiologist from Harvard School of Public Health states: "If you have time for only a half-hour brisk walk during lunch and then another half-hour at the end of the day, you'll essentially get the same benefit as taking an hour-long walk. Exercise like walking helps the heart pump more efficiently". 

7) Dodge Diabetes. There is no doubt that walking and walking consistently leads to a better chance of keeping diabetes away. Loretta DiPietro, from the exercise and nutrition sciences department at George Washington University says that "If you consistently walk briskly for 45 minutes to an hour, it would train your muscles to clear glucose (blood sugar) more efficiently, so that you might be able to skip a day or two every week." But no matter how you choose to walk, doing it consistently may delay the onset of type 2 diabetes."


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