7 in­cred­i­ble re­sults from walk­ing 30 min­utes a day

Prevention (Australia) - - In This Issue - BY MEGHAN RABBITT

Just step this way... it turns out to be the eas­i­est way

you can boost your health and your mood!

Tak­ing a walk a day is kind of like that prover­bial ap­ple: there’s a good chance it’ll keep the doc­tor away. From help­ing you lose weight and de-stress to low­er­ing your blood pres­sure and re­duc­ing your risk of many chronic dis­eases – go­ing for reg­u­lar walks is one of the best and eas­i­est things you can do for your health, says Dr Melina Jam­po­lis, au­thor of The Doc­tor on De­mand Diet: “Walk­ing is the number one ex­er­cise I rec­om­mend to most of my pa­tients be­cause it is very easy to do, re­quires noth­ing but a pair of ten­nis shoes, and has tremen­dous men­tal and phys­i­cal ben­e­fits,” she says. Here’s what you can ex­pect when you start walk­ing for just 30 min­utes ev­ery day, most days of the week.

1. YOUR MOOD WILL IM­PROVE

You know how some­times it takes a glass of wine or a square (or three) of dark cho­co­late to blunt the edge of a rough day? Well, go­ing for a walk is a zero-kilo­joule strat­egy with the same ben­e­fits, says Jam­po­lis. “Re­search shows that reg­u­lar walk­ing ac­tu­ally mod­i­fies your ner­vous sys­tem so much that you’ll ex­pe­ri­ence a de­crease in anger and hos­til­ity,” she says. What’s more, when you make your walks so­cial – you stride with, say, your partner, a neigh­bor, or a good friend – that in­ter­ac­tion helps you feel con­nected, says Jam­po­lis, which boosts your mood.

2. YOUR CRE­ATIVE JUICES WILL START FLOW­ING

Whether you’re feel­ing stuck at work or you’ve been search­ing for a so­lu­tion to a tricky prob­lem, re­search shows it’s a good idea to get moving. Ac­cord­ing to a 2014 study in the Jour­nal of Ex­per­i­men­tal Psy­chol­ogy, Learn­ing, Mem­ory, and Cog­ni­tion, go­ing for a walk can spark cre­ativ­ity. “Re­searchers ad­min­is­tered cre­ative-think­ing tests to sub­jects while seated and while walk­ing and found that the walk­ers thought more cre­atively than the sit­ters,” says Jam­po­lis.

3. YOUR JEANS WILL GET A LIT­TLE LOOSER

This one may seem ob­vi­ous, but it’s cer­tainly a happy ben­e­fit for those who start walk­ing reg­u­larly, says Jam­po­lis. “As you con­tinue to walk, you may no­tice your pants be­gin to fit more loosely around your mid­sec­tion, even if the number on the scale isn’t moving much,” she says. “That’s be­cause reg­u­lar walk­ing can help im­prove your body’s re­sponse to in­sulin, which can help re­duce belly fat.” The best part? You don’t have to slog it out on a tread­mill at the gym to see th­ese ben­e­fits.

4. YOU’LL DE­CREASE YOUR RISK OF CHRONIC DIS­EASE

The statis­tics are im­pres­sive: re­searchers at the University of Boul­der Colorado and the University of Ten­nessee found that reg­u­lar walk­ing low­ered blood pres­sure by as much as 11 points and may re­duce the risk of stroke by 20 per cent to 40 per cent. “The phys­i­cal ben­e­fits of walk­ing are well doc­u­mented,” says fit­ness ex­pert Scott Dan­berg. With im­pres­sive re­sults like th­ese, there’s a good chance you’ll get a pat on the back from your doc at your next check-up.

5. YOU’LL START TO GET MORE “REG­U­LAR”

If you praise cof­fee for keep­ing your di­ges­tive sys­tem go­ing strong, get ready to start thank­ing your morn­ing walk in­stead. That’s be­cause a reg­u­lar walk­ing rou­tine can im­prove gas­tric mo­bil­ity, says phys­i­cal ther­a­pist, Tara Alaichamy. “One of the very first things an ab­dom­i­nal surgery pa­tient is re­quired to do is to walk be­cause it utilises core and ab­dom­i­nal mus­cles, en­cour­ag­ing move­ment in our GI sys­tem,” she says.

6. YOUR OTHER GOALS WILL START TO SEEM MORE REACHABLE

When you be­come a reg­u­lar walker, you will have es­tab­lished a reg­u­lar rou­tine – and when you have a rou­tine, you are more likely to con­tinue with the ac­tiv­ity and take on new healthy be­haviours.

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