Why not make 2016 the year to improve your health. It doesn’t take drastic diet plans or intense exercise routines. Simply adding a routine of walking can do amazing things for your health. Regular walking, like most aerobic activities, is excellent cardiovascular exercise, and it strengthens your heart and lungs while increasing overall fitness.
According to the American Stroke Association, 30-minute of brisk walking every day helps to prevent high blood pressure that causes stroke, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent. Regular walking can also slash the risk of type 2 diabetes by 60%, and lower the risk of certain types of cancer like colon or breast. For older adults, walking at least 6 miles more a week can help prevent dementia, something that affects one in fourteen adults over 65.
And, you can lose weight by walking. If you walk 30 minutes at a rate of 2 mph, you can burn about 75 calories. Kick it up a notch and increase your speed to about three mph and you could burn 99 calories or 150 if you walk 4mh.
Walking can also give you an energy boost by stimulating circulation and increasing oxygen supply to every cell in your body. Try taking a walk on your lunch break, which can help you feel more alert and get you through the afternoon.
And for positive mental health, walking can be a great mood booster. Studies show that brisk walking is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression. Exercise helps release those feel-good endorphins, which helps reduce stress and anxiety. So, grab some sneakers and walk towards good health this year.
Coby N. Harrison, MD
Undergraduate – Spring Hill College, Mobile, AL
Medical School – the University of Alabama at Birmingham
Internship and Residency – University of South Alabama Medical Center, Mobile, AL
Specialty – Internal Medicine
Certification – American Board of Internal Medicine
Dr. Harrison works alongside her husband, Jason Harrison, MD at Internal Medicine Center.