the short term health benefits of a walk

Known as a moderate form of inexpensive exercise with a low risk for injury, walking can build up your health in as little as 4000 steps or about 2 miles.

According to a 2009 Harvard medical study, walking can compete with running as a viable exercise option by providing a healthy dose of moderate to vigorous activity and “reducing the death rate of conditioning exercisers by 43% and occasional exercisers by 29%.”

This is especially good news for those of us who like to jog, but have needed to switch to a lower impact workout because of injury, arthritis or another condition.

The Harvard Study reported these short term health benefits:

  • Immediately, the body begins to burn additional calories each day.
  • Walkers who participated in the study gained significantly less weight than those who didn’t; the more walking, the less weight gain.

Considering the average American gains about 2.2 pounds a year during middle age, walking for just 35 minutes a day saved a 160-pound person about 18 pounds of fat over 15 years of aging. The benefit was greatest in the heaviest individuals.

  • Walkers experienced a feeling of mental alertness after a walk. The increased blood flow benefits the body and the brain; sharpening memory and focus.
  • Walking provided a boost for bone and immune system health. Outdoor walks help the body absorb vitamin D from sunshine.
  • After a walk, participants felt an energy increase and improved mood. That’s right, the endorphins released resembled the feeling of a “walker’s high!”

There’s no time like the Springtime to experience and experiment with the short term benefits of walking. Take your afternoon break in the outdoors, walk to a take out place for lunch, indulge in some sunshine for the two o’clock coffee/tea break. Download a pedometer app for your phone and start tracking your Springtime steps. See how you feel as you take some me time to…

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