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EACH TIME YOU WALK
1. Your body burns fat.
Your body is like a car with two fuel tanks for energy. The first tank holds fatty acids. The second tank contains carbohydrates. When you exercise at low intensity, your body burns fat for energy. As exercise intensity increases, your body uses carbs. Walking is considered low-intensity exercise, ideal for fat-burning. When you walk, 80 percent of your energy is fueled by fat and 20 percent is stoked by carbs.
A University of Tennessee study found that women who walk for exercise have less body fat than those who don’t. Researchers assessed the effect of walking on body composition in 80 women, ages 40-66. Each wore a pedometer throughout the day. The women that logged the most steps had the lowest body fat percentage.
Walk regularly, and watch body fat melt away!
2. Your bones get stronger.
Bone is living tissue that responds to exercise by increasing in density. The force of muscle tugging on bones stimulates bone cells to reproduce.
Bone mass peaks by age 30, after which bones begin to thin. Weight-bearing exercise shields against bone degeneration, a condition termed osteoporosis. Low bone mass sets the stage for fracture.
A Massachusetts study of post-menopausal women found that 30 minutes of daily walking reduced their risk of hip fracture by 40 percent.
Preserve your precious bones with a daily jaunt.
3. You get happier.
A California State University study showed that the more people walk, the brighter their mental outlook. Researchers assessed the outcome of walking in 37 adults over a period of three weeks. Each participant wore a pedometer to track their daily steps. At the end of each day, subjects completed questionnaires, evaluating mood, depression, and self-esteem. After writing down their ratings, they checked the number of steps they’d clocked on their pedometers. Those who’d walked the most reported feeling happiest.
4. You get smarter.
Exercise enhances memory. It speeds blood flow, feeding the brain with the oxygen it needs for energy. Elevated oxygen heightens the brain’s capacity to code and process information. Beneficial enzymes and hormones kick in, boosting brain function.
Walking also stimulates the hippocampus, the brain region involved in learning. When nerve cells in your hippocampus are activated, thinking ability sharpens.
Swedish research shows that physical activity spurs creativity. It triggers the birth of new brain cells, a process termed neurogenesis. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology revealed that walking reaps fresh ideas. Researchers assessed subjects’ performance before and after walking. They were able to think of 60 percent more uses for an object after a brisk jaunt.
Research conducted at the University of Illinois found that after adults had exercised for 30 minutes, their cognitive abilities improved by 10 percent.
If a problem has you befuddled, go for a walk!
5. Your heart gets healthier.
University of Tennessee research revealed that women who walked two miles daily lowered their blood pressure by 11 points. The study involved 24 postmenopausal women with hypertension, 10 of whom were taking blood pressure medication. About half the women increased their daily walking to two miles over a six-month period. The other half did not change their activity level. The women who exercised saw significant reductions in blood pressure. Six women got their numbers back to normal.
Ward off heart disease with a fun walking program.
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