Tag: exercise tips

The Many Ways Walking Benefits Your Body

Life changed dramatically in 2020. When the World Health Organization declared a COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, hundreds of millions of people across the globe were forced to change how they go about their daily lives, including how they exercise. Health-conscious adults accustomed to exercising at local gyms had to find new ways to exercise in the wake of the pandemic. Many gyms were forced to close in areas hit hard by COVID-19, and that left many people without access to fitness equipment like weights and cardiovascular machines. Resilient men and women soon found ways to exercise, and many of them embraced walking.

Though walking might not provide the same level of intensity that fitness enthusiasts are accustomed to, the Arthritis Foundation® notes the various ways walking benefits the body.

• Walking protects against heart disease and stroke. Walking strengthens the heart and protects it against heart disease. The AF also notes that walking lowers blood pressure. In fact, post-menopausal women who walk just one to two miles per day can lower their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks, while women who walk for 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20 percent.

• Walking strengthens the bones. New York-based Plancher Orthopedics and Sports Medicine notes that walking can stop the loss of bone mass for people with osteoporosis. In addition, post-menopausal women who incorporate 30 minutes of walking into their daily fitness regimens can reduce their risk of hip fractures by 40 percent.

• Walking can extend your life. The AF notes that one study linked walking to longer life expectancy, finding that people who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties were 35 percent less likely to die over the next eight years than people who never walked.

• Walking can improve mood. One study from researchers at California State University, Long Beach, found that the more steps people taking during the day, the better their moods were.

• Walking can lower risk for cognitive decline. Walking also has been linked to a lower risk for age-related cognitive decline. A study from the University of Virginia Health System found that men between the ages of 71 and 93 who walked more than a quarter of a mile per day had half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease compared to men who walked less. In addition, a study from researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower among women ages 65 and older who walked 2.5 miles per day than it was among women who walked less than half a mile per week.

Foot traffic increased as people were forced to find new ways to exercise during the COVID-19 pandemic. Walking is a great way to stay in shape and even provides some lesser known benefits for people who walk each day.

Reduce Workout Injuries

Exercise enthusiasts look to avoid injury like the plague. Injuries are akin to kryptonite for athletes, who tend to be averse to inactivity and unaccustomed to life away from the gym.

But injuries are a legitimate threat to athletes of all ages. Fortunately, there are several steps athletes can take to reduce their risk of injury.

· Work with a professional.  Even veteran athletes can benefit from working with a professional, who can help individuals tailor a workout routine that best suits their bodies and fitness goals. A trainer can show you how to use machines properly, and many trainers stay abreast of the latest developments in exercise science, making them valuable sources of information on everything from workout tips to stretching techniques and more. Even if you can only afford one or two sessions with a trainer, make the most of those sessions by asking as many questions as possible.

· Recognize your limitations. If you’re just starting out, don’t push yourself, as your body will need time to adjust to regular exercise. If weightlifting will be part of your new routine, lift light weights initially and gradually work up to heavier weights as your body grows more acclimated to strength training.

stretch· Take a slow and steady approach to each workout. Warm up your body before hitting the weights or going full bore on the treadmill. Warming up before a workout readies your muscles for the stress that’s coming later in your routine. If you don’t warm up beforehand, your muscles will be cold and loose, possibly leading to strains, tears or other painful injuries.

· Stretch at the end of each workout. While novices will almost certainly experience some soreness and stiffness at the onset of their routines, such feelings are normal because you are exercising muscles that likely have not been worked out in quite some time. But as your body becomes acclimated to routine exercise, that soreness and stiffness should go away. If it does not, that’s likely because you are not stretching enough at the end of your workouts. Stretching helps the body return to a more natural position, reducing the likelihood that you will develop tight, sore and stiff muscles.

· Take time off. Even the most accomplished athletes in the world take days off from their exercise regimens. Tired, overworked muscles are more susceptible to injury, so make sure your body has enough time to rest and recover. Skip a workout if your muscles seem stiff and sore, or change up your routine so you aren’t taxing the muscles that don’t feel up to snuff.


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(This article contains excerpts from metrocreativeconnection.com #HM151855)