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With the weather in the provinces capital city feeling more like a cool fall day then a nice spring evening going outside may be the furthest thing from your mind. And believe it or not the first day of summer is only a week away.
As the weather does improve and you start to venture outside, what type of activities do you typically find yourself doing? If going for a walk isn’t one of them it might be time to start. An article published on Harvard Health Publications from Harvard Medical School noted that when researchers from University College reviewed over 4,000 studies from 1970 to 2000 they found walking cut the risk of dying during the studies by 32%. Not only that, but this reduction in the risk of dying was felt equally between men and women and benefits were realized with as low as 8.8 km per week (or 1.25 km per day). That’s like walking from the Post Office on Water Street in St. John’s to the Court House and back.
“Walking is a man’s best Medicine”
Further to this, a study by the George Institute for Global Health and the Menzies Research Institute in Tasmania, where they followed 3,000 people for 15 years, that found a sedentary person who increases their steps from 1,000 per day to 10,000 had a 46% lower risk of dying.
THAT’s ALMOST HALF!!! So how far is 10,000 steps? That’s about 7.5 km, which might be a bit much to start off with, but if you pick yourself up a pedometer and start keeping track of your daily totals you may find it’s easier to reach that number than you originally thought (here’s a link to a free download to help you keep track of your daily steps and a link to some pedometers that you can wear on your wrist instead of your hip – helps to keep your head watching where you’re going instead of looking down at your hip to see how you’re doing).
Benefits from walking are realized with as low as 1.25km/day. Walking from the Water Street Post Office in St. John’s to the Court House and back.
If not dying isn’t a good enough reason to get out of the house and start walking then what about feeding your brain with every step? Researchers at New Mexico Highlands University found that each time your foot impacts the ground while walking it sends pressure waves through your arteries that can increase the supply of blood going to the brain. The research, which was just presented at the American Physiological Societies annual meeting on experimental biology in Chicago on April 22-26, 2017, concluded that walking and the resultant increased blood going to the brain may optimize brain function and overall sense of well-being.
Optimizing your brain function from walking sounds fantastic, but what does that actually mean? Well one thing it means is improved creativity. A Stanford University study showed that creative thinking improves while we walk, and it doesn’t matter if we are walking inside or outside. It is the act of walking and not the environment that matters. Oppezzo, one of the researchers, said “I thought walking outside would blow everything out of the water, but walking on a treadmill in a small, boring room still had strong results, which surprised me.” To make sure it wasn’t just the movement, they had some participants sit in wheelchairs and move outside. The physical act of walking is what yielded results.
Walking can optimize brain function, your over-all sense of well-being, and improve creativity.
The important thing to remember is that the weather, like everything else in life, will change (sometimes 5 times in one day!) and you don’t have to look any further this weekend with sun in the forecast and a high of 18 degrees for Saturday.
Have a favorite walking path? Let us know and it might be featured in an upcoming article about where to walk in Newfoundland.
- Step Tracker
- Walking Your Steps to Health
- Walking Benefits – Increasing Daily Steps Linked to Longer Life
- Pedometers Options
- How Walking Benefits the Brain
- Stanford Study Finds Walking Improves Creativity
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