walking - health

Study Reveals How to Maximize the Health Benefits of Walking

In All Health Watch, Anti-Aging, Cognitive Health, Featured Article, Fitness and Exercise, Longevity

Americans know they have a sitting problem. Study after study has shown that our sedentary lifestyle is killing us.

It leads to atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, kidney failure, and many other life-threatening illnesses.1,2,3

Since many of us spend our days at desk jobs, we try to compensate by taking long walks in the mornings, evenings, and on weekends. But it can be difficult to find the time.

A new study shows you may not need much time at all…

Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have found that frequent 5-minute walks—which you can fit into your work day—are more beneficial than fewer long walks.4

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A 2013 study in the Journal of the American Heart Association proved it. 520 high-risk heart patients took the test. The people who got the lower scores ended up having a higher rate of what they call “adverse heart events” later. Like cardiovascular death, heart attack, angina, stroke, etc.

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5 Minutes to Better Health

Scientists studied 30 sedentary office workers. They had the volunteers simulate three different six-hour work days.

Day one: The volunteers sat the entire time. They got up from their desks only for bathroom breaks.

Day two: They walked at a moderate pace for 30 minutes on a treadmill before they started their sedentary work day.

Day three: Subjects sat for most of the work day. But they started each of the six hours with a brisk five-minute walk on a treadmill. In other words, they achieved 30 minutes of walking but broke it up into six five-minute sessions spread throughout the day.

At the beginning and end of each work day, researchers checked the levels of stress hormones of the participants. And they asked volunteers to rate their mood, energy, fatigue, and appetite.

Not surprisingly, both short and long walks produced better results than no walks.

But short walks made people feel better than one long walk. On the day they took frequent short walks, participants reported they were happier, felt less tired, and had fewer food cravings.5

On the day participants took a long morning walk, they felt energized at the start of the day. But after lunch, fatigue set in. On the short walk day, their energy levels actually increased throughout the day.

The results suggest that “a little bit of activity, spread throughout the day, is a practical, easy way to improve well-being,” says Dr. Jack Groppel.

The study was recently published in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.

Try this simple strategy: Set the alarm on your cell phone to go off every hour during the work day. When you hear it, get up and walk for five minutes. You’ll be healthier, happier, and more productive.

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