One of the easiest exercises you can do will benefit your health in as many as 10 different ways. It’s an activity you can do almost anywhere, anytime that suits you best and without the use of any special equipment, except perhaps a good pair of athletic shoes . What is this miracle exercise? It’s walking. That’s it. Plain and simple walking. If you can manage 10,000 steps each day your health will benefit. That’s about 7.5 kilometers. The best part is you don’t need to do these steps all at once to get the benefit. You can spread it out over an entire day. “Sitting is the new smoking”. Spending too many hours in a chair can do your body more harm than smoking. After just 30 minutes in a chair, your metabolism slows down by 90 %. This means calorie burning significantly decreases. The body also becomes less sensitive to insulin, meaning blood sugar levels increase. Diabetes becomes a risk. Just getting up for 5 minutes of movement can get things going again. While exercise is excellent for us, one full hour of exercise will not negate the damage done by too much sitting. Continue to exercise regularly, especially if it is in addition to walking, but try to limit the number of hours spent in a chair.
So, what do you gain by walking 10,000 steps each day? Your cardiovascular health will benefit. That’s your heart and lungs. Heart health has always been at the forefront but a certain virus has made us think more seriously about our lung health. Walking increases your heart and breathing rates, which, over time will improve cardiovascular fitness. Making some of those daily kilometers a brisk walk, or a jog, if you are able, will elevate the heart and breathing rates a little further therefore improving things a little quicker. Consciously taking a few deep breaths throughout the day, walking or not, can also do plenty to keep your lungs healthy. Breath in slowly and deeply for as long as you can and then breath out at the same pace. Repeat several times. Take care of your lungs. Also a part of cardiovascular health, cholesterol and blood pressure may also be reduced through participating in activity regularly. However, these can also be hereditary and medication will be needed. But perhaps less dosage required the fitter you are.
Walking, because it is a weight bearing exercise. as opposed to swimming or cycling where you are not on your feet, will also improve your bone health. Combine any of these activities with some weight training and the benefit to bone density will increase. Be sure to start slowly, progress gradually and pay close attention to correct technique with weight training to prevent injury. Doing many different exercises will be the best benefit to your bones. The muscle will pull on the bone in a different way for each exercise that you do, thus causing the body to lay down more calcium in a variety of areas on the skeletal system therefore increasing bone density and strength. Those with strong bones have a lower risk of fractures. If a fall occurs, the risk of breaking a bone is less.
Type Two Diabetes is a very common, yet very preventable disease. Overeating combined with a sedentary lifestyle is the sure way to develop diabetes. Walking just 20 to 30 minutes a day can really help to prevent this disease that eventually ravages all parts of the body. If you have diabetes, start walking. Take a dog, a friend, a sibling, a child or a parent for company. Start slowly, in speed and time. Gradually progress. Not only will your body be using the excess stored glucose for the activity, it is now more sensitive to insulin. This means the body is more able to use the insulin naturally released by the body when blood sugar levels increase.If you are on a drug for diabetes, your doctor may be able to reduce the amount you take if you maintain your activity levels. DO NOT reduce ANY medication without first consulting your physician. After a few weeks of being active, try reducing your calorie intake somewhat. Make this your new lifestyle and watch your health improve. Your energy level will also increase.
Walking on a regular basis, outdoors, taking in and appreciating your surroundings, will also improve your mood. Activity is at the forefront when it comes to treating depression. Make walking a daily habit. So many things will improve for you. Why wait for Spring? Do it now!