Wellness – Walking is great for health and longevity

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According to the United States (U.S) National Institutes of Health, high blood pressure is one of the most important risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), which is the leading cause of mortality. As per a Research by the Institutes, published online on May 31, 2021, CVD – i.e., heart and blood disease- is the most common non-communicable disease in Guyana. The findings disclosed that “Among Indo-Guyanese and Afro-Guyanese, CVD is the primary cause of death affecting 32.6% and 22.7% of the populations, respectively.”

The floods and pandemic have affected people in ways that could have only been imagined. Lives have been upended, material possessions damaged or destroyed, and economic securities wiped away. These tragedies have added to other daily stressors of life, and it is a difficult time for many. In moments like these it is easy to neglect one’s health because people must work their brains overtime to feed the family, pay bills, and cater to other daily expenses.

Even as life throws hardballs it would be more difficult to cope should our physical, emotional and mental health be ignored. Not positively positioning our health through preventative or maintenance care could lead to chronic diseases, affecting holistic wellbeing and longevity. The U.S Arthritis Foundation has given 12 reasons why it is important to walk. And the American Heart Association is urging people to walk at least 20 minutes a day to manage hypertension.

Who cannot walk or do not feel like walking outdoors can walk indoor. Physical activity is important for many reasons, some of which are:-

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  1. 1. Improve Circulation-Walking wards off heart disease, brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart. Post-menopausal women who walk just one to two miles a day can lower their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40% when they stepped up the pace, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
  2. Shore Up Your Bones-Walking can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis, according to Michael A. Schwartz, MD, of Plancher Orthopedics & Sports Medicine in New York. In fact, one study of post-menopausal women found that 30 minutes of walking each day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40%.
  3. Enjoy a Longer Life-Research finds that people who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties are 35% less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts. That number shoots up to 45% less likely for those who have underlying health conditions.
  4. Lighten Your Mood-Walking releases natural pain­killing endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were.
  5. Lose Weight-A brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories. Over time, calories burned can lead to pounds dropped.
  6. Strengthen Muscles-Walking tones your leg and abdominal muscles – and even arm muscles if you pump them as you walk. This increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints to your muscles.
  7. Improve Sleep-Studies found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk.
  8. Support Your Joints-The majority of joint cartilage has no direct blood supply. It gets its nutrition from joint fluid that circulates as we move. Movement and compression from walking “squishes” the cartilage, bringing oxygen and nutrients into the area.
  9. Improve Your Breath-When walking, your breathing rate increases, causing oxygen to travel faster through bloodstream, helping to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and the ability to heal.
  10. Slow Down Mental Decline-A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17% decline in memory, as opposed to a 25% decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week.
  11. Lower Alzheimer’s Risk-A study from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville found that men between the ages of 71 and 93 who walked more than a quarter of a mile per day had half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who walked less.
  12. Do More for Longer-Aerobic walking and resistance exercise programs may reduce the incidence of disability in the activities of daily living for people who are older than 65 and have symptomatic OA, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Outcomes Management found.

From-America Arthritis Foundation

For indoor walking, join Jerrika



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