Benefits of Walking
Presented by Dr. Tom Ruckman
According to the US Surgeon General’s report on physical activity in America, more than half of the US population does not participate in any type of regular exercise. The Surgeon General is now urging Americans to get in shape with at least one-half hour of moderately vigorous activity each day. They recommend walking two miles at a brisk rate of 3 miles per hour, every day. This will not cost you a dollar to get yourself back in shape. Have you heard that our life expectancy rate has recently decreased for the first time in generations? We are now expected to live a shorter life span then our last generation. Why is that happening? What would you guess is the reason for our life span now starting to be shorter? It’s one of the main reasons our health care is so expensive, and that it could possible even bankrupt our health care in this country? In past generations we thought the things that would over whelm our health care system would be things like Super bugs being antibiotic resistant, or HIV, or CA, but now it’s obesity. So, 34% of us are now obese in the USA. What can we do about this? The benefit’s from walking is one solution. The top number #1 “fountain of youth” or way to live longer is known, according to research, and it is called “calorie restriction”. Authorities on Longevity agree about keeping your weight at your ideal level or even below, for your height and bone size is one of the best ways to encourage living a longer life.
1. Walking gives you more energy! Have you noticed we age we generally have less energy. Walking will increase your energy. This energy from walking or any exercise will increase your Metabolism Rate. How do you increase your metabolism rate? ……. It’s done by storing more glucose in your muscles. We are building up a storage of energy by walking. That’s what exercise does for you. The more we exercise the more glucose we store in our muscles. So, if you walk you will lose more weight. You will burn off more calories. You will increase your metabolism rate. That will give you more energy. At lunch time head out for a walk, and you will need less food to satisfy you. Get a pedometer and count your steps. Work your way up to 10,000 to 12,000 steps a day. Have fun with walking. Vary your walking, where you go, how fast you go.
2. Walking helps you to sleep better. In the old days when we worked from sun rise to sun set, we generally slept better. Now we don’t sleep as good. We need to get more active like we once were. IMPORTANT: A while back, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness asked 7 medical experts to rate the sleep-promoting abilities of a whole gamut of physical sports and activities, walking beat them all out, including many of the popular sports such as handball, racketball, basketball, calisthenics, tennis, downhill skiing, softball, golf, and bowling. There is more chance that you will sleep longer and deeper if you walk daily. Walking has a real relaxing effect, helping you to go asleep faster. By the way, taking calcium before bed, I have found helps you to get to sleep faster.
3. Walking makes your immune system stronger. Have you ever heard of this? You are not so apt to catch a cold or flu, or even the dreaded shingles if you walk regularly. What do you think lowers your immune system most commonly? ….STRESS. What is the easiest way to raise your immune system making it stronger?….Walking. Stay well and be sick less with daily walking. Walking regularly will lower your risk of arthritis, macular degeneration, and some cancers by an astonishing 50% compared to people who don’t exercise.
4. Walking reduces lower back pain, and tightness. Every cardiologist will tell you walking is the best exercise for your heart. I’m telling you walking is the best exercise for your lower back. We are made for walking. Walking as an exercise that is equal to more than a dozen individual exercises. How is that? Because walking makes your muscles both stronger by toning them up, but also stretches your muscles out to relax you, and lubricates the joints. Don’t underestimate the benefits of walking.
5. Walking is a good stress reliever, and it makes you happier. Walking stimulates the body to produce natural opiates called endorphins which are cousins to morphine which is responsible for the euphoric feeling runners get while they run. They call it a ”runner’s high”. Walking makes other good mood chemicals to combat both depression and anxiety. Walking also stimulates ones’ creativity. () Anyone who has come back from a walk in a different frame of mind then when they started will attest that walking can change their mood. So before you blow up at your boss, or your wife, or your friends, go for a walk. Taking the time to walk will de-stress your mind, so you will have a better mood and make better decisions. A University of Wisconsin study showed walking to be as effective as taking anti-depressants to relieve mild to moderate depression. People with mild to moderate depression after one year of treatment in this study using either walking or taking anti-depressants drugs found that 90% of the group that walked were no longer depressed. The half of the group taking antidepressants still needed these drugs. Remember your grandparents saying, “In our day we did not have the time to be depressed or have anxiety”? Back then, they were generally much more physically active then we are now, and we now are paying the price with increasing use of these anti-depressant drugs on younger ages.
6. Walking lowers your risk of major diseases, such as heart disease, cancers, particularly breast and colon cancers, diabetes, osteoporosis, and even having injuries. Why is walking so helpful in preventing breast and colon cancers? Well they are not sure. They believe the reduced risk of breast cancer with people who walk daily may be from the reduction of hormones levels, like estrogen, caused by reduced body fat directly from daily walking. Did you know your fat produces estrogen? People with too much fat have more cancers. Colon cancer risk is lowered they believe in people who walk daily due to the reduced time that your food stays in the intestines. Walking moves the food through the intestines faster than in a person who mainly sits all day. Our number one health disease in America is? ……Heart disease, and is the cause of 50% of all deaths. Studies do show that regular physical activity such as walking will lower your risk of developing heart disease. How does that happen?…. Any exercise that makes you breath harder, will cause you to make more collateral circulation or making more blood vessels in your heart. More blood flowing in different directions in your heart muscle gives you a stronger heart that has more circulation in case you ever form a clot that sticks to the walls plugging your blood flow in your heart, causing a heart attack. That better blood flow causes less heart damage for a milder heart attack. People who walk regularly also seem to recovering faster from heart attacks, and bypass surgery, and walking lowers your risk of suffering a second heart attack. So reducing your risk for heart disease can be a good motivation to get you exercising or walking regularly.
7. Walking is very good for the mind….reducing your chance of dementias by 40%. Walking helps you to stay sharp. Walking will improve memory recall. Physical activity not only nourishes your muscles, making them stronger, but also stimulates the brain in large areas while coordinating the 650 muscles in the human body. Walking stimulates the production of neurons, which are the nerves that control your body. Vigorous walking or other exercise stimulates new blood vessel production in the brain reducing your chance of strokes. We have all been told that to prevent or slow down dementias we should play more word games, make more puzzles, or learn a new language. This seems to be true, but, when they check our head with brain scans, and MRI’s, they find that more of your brain will “light up” or be “stimulated, with exercise like walking, and other exercises while we move large parts of our body. Walking is one of the best exercise’s. It takes more than 200 muscles moving in the right order just for you to take one step. If you want to stimulate more of your brain….go for a walk.
8. Walking increases bone density, and that helps treat osteoporosis. People who walk regularly have stronger bones and less pain of arthritis. They have fewer fractures.
9. Walking boosts your Vitamin D levels in your blood stream. Vitamin D builds stronger bones, less osteoporosis, helps prevent dementias, and stimulates the immune system.
10. Walking strengthens your legs. What one common item will determine whether we can stay independent and stay in our homes, when we are older?……. One factor is what shape our mind is in, but the shape of our legs is another factor determining our ability to stay independent. Walking tones your legs, your bum and your tum. If you pay attention to your posture as you walk, you will also tone your abs, and whittle away on your waist, too.
11. Walking improves your balance. This is a very big item as we get older. The last thing you should ever do as we get older is to stop walking. Why?…… As we age we lose the strength in our legs and our balance becomes weaker. Fear of falling becomes our biggest fear, especially once you have had a fall. Walking will improve your balance. How? Walking stimulates the parts of your brain which coordinates the many muscles needed for balance. Walking also works the nerves that control your balance system located in your inner ear. If you do fall, get back up, and next time walk a shorter distance, but do it 2-4 times a day to help your legs and your balance system get stronger.
12. Walking reduces your chances of Diabetes. 30 minutes of walking a day makes your muscles more receptive to insulin. That allows your blood sugar, called glucose, to do its work feeding the cells the nutrients they need, and giving energy to those cells, instead of your blood sugar piling up in your bloodstream giving a high glucose reading. Regular walking can lower your blood sugar.
13. Walking keeps you going! What do we mean by this?….. Walking has the highest compliance rate of any exercise program. That means you are more apt to stay with your walking routine, and gain the benefits as compared to all the other types of exercise. Make your routine of walking bulletproof by getting a buddy to walk with you. Safety in numbers. Drive to places where walking is interesting. Vary your walk to different surroundings. Willamette River trails, City Parks, like Alton Baker, Dorris Ranch, Hendricks Park Walk along the Amazon trails, and Ridgeline trails.
14. Walking 30 minutes a day is now one of the main keys to stopping smoking. Even 5 minutes of walking will reduce the craving for nicotine. There are exceptions to many of these ideas we are talking about tonight. You may not be able to walk due to knee problems and need to use other exercises.
15. How many of you have heard of Dr. Oz? Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen say: on the benefits of walking, that regular walkers have fewer heart attacks and fewer strokes, and lower blood pressure and higher levels of the good HDL cholesterol then couch sitters do.
GOOD SUGGESTION: For more benefits on healthy ideas and disease prevention, go to Dr. Oz and Dr. Roizen’s web site at: www.realage.com Take the free test there and find out your REAL AGE, not your chronological age. Ideas will be given after you take the test to improve your health and slow your aging process. This information comes from many medical studies that will improve your health. This test can be one of the most valuable things you can do to improve your health. There is no selling of products, but just reliable information. Get healthy living tips for everything from knee pain to diet, weight loss and more. Make your life easier with these “go to guides” for a healthier living. Find out your risk for diseases and learn how to better manage your health from taking this free test.
Thank you for your time reading this and I hope you will try more walking to improve your health.
Learn more about Pioneer Chiropractic Clinic at http://www.pioneerchiropracticclinic.com/