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Aug 9, 2012 by KEN STANFIELD
Walking Through Life: Walking’s Relationship to Lifespan


Walking is a part of everyday life. It is a simple motion that one learns to do as a toddler and is therefore often taken for granted. Walking is an important part of life however, and can be an even more important factor in maintaining a healthy life. This article will explore the health benefits that walking offers and delve into some scientific studies on the relationship between walking an good health.



This report in the Journal of the American Medical Association illustrates that those seniors with a faster walking speed were more likely to have a longer survival rate. The study focused on gait speed, stating that it is likely that the speed of your gait indicates the general condition of your body. While this theory is plausible, it is not known whether gait speed actually affects health, whether it is a direct cause of some aspect of well-being, or whether it is just a possible indicator with no definite means of interpreting cause, effect, or overall meaning.

Walking as Exercise
It is common knowledge that regular physical activity promotes a healthy lifestyle. Walking is sometimes discounted as an exercise because it is not as intensive as running or strength building exercises. Since walking is part of daily life, it is difficult to see it as a useful workout. However, walking is a lot easier to do than many workouts because it does not require any special equipment and it can be done almost anywhere and at any time.

Because walking is less daunting than many exercises it is accessible to more people. Even people who would never consider lifting weights every day or going for 5-mile runs can commit to 15-minute walks. Walking can be considered a gate-way exercise. If you can start out walking for a short amount of time each day, you are more likely to make other, more substantial commitments to your fitness.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF WALKING

Prevents Disease
Walking (as well as any regular exercise) helps you to remain fit. Walking regularly promotes good health in several ways. Consistent exercise builds up endurance and stamina, but it also has less visible results. One of the more long-term effects of regular walking is that it strengthens your immune system. Studies show that walking battles and prevents conditions such as osteoporosis and diabetes. This can be attributed to increased blood flow. The more active you are, the more active and healthy your cells are. This can lessen the risk of low-blood sugar and bone density problems.

Lungs
The more you walk, the faster you will do so. This increase in speed and performance will be gradual; you may not notice it happening. What is clear is that repeated activity leads to improvement. This means that your body will adapt to be able to do more difficult tasks. Whereas a 10-minute walk may have exhausted you when you started walking, a half hour may not faze you after a few weeks. After more time, you will find that you can go further in that half hour than before. This is not just your muscles being strengthened, but other vital areas as well. The more intense your walking becomes, the more your lungs have to work to maintain proper breathing. One thing to consider while walking or running is that when we become active, we tend to breathe through our mouth. Focus on breathing through your nose to maintain efficient breathing and build up your lungs even more.

Weight
By staying active, you help your body move toward your ideal weight. You burn excess fat and calories and build muscle. Remember that a healthy weight is not just about pounds, but also about body fat ratio. Walking will encourage also encourage you to make other healthy choices for your body. If you see some movement toward your ideal weight or body fat ratio, you are likely to work harder to obtain that.

Mood
Walking releases endorphins into your system that improve your mood. It also gives you an opportunity to reflect on your day, your life, or any number of things. Your brain needs time to wander and explore. Walking provides this time. For these reasons, walking is shown to combat depression, improve blood pressure, and positively affect your mood. A walk in the morning is recommended to get your brain awake, your blood flowing, and get a calm, collected start to the day.

These aspects of walking show some possible reasons for the correlation to longer life span. The relation to speed could come from the observation that regular participation in walking leads to faster gait speed. Walking is a great introduction to making lifestyle choices that prevent future health problems and combat current ones.

Ken Stanfield
is a passionate blogger who spends his time researching and writing about health care, geriatric healthcare needs, and humanitarianism. He writes for the medical walkers supplier justwalkers.com.


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