From Little League to Big League, Pop Warner to the Pros, when an athlete has a minor knock or injury, or is frustrated or discouraged, the common advice is to “walk away.” According to the Writing Explained website, the idea that the physical act of walking can be a tonic for relieving minor physical or emotional pain has been go-to advice not just in athletics but in life in general, for at least the years. 1800. This expression is also used to remind someone that the subject of a complaint, whatever it is, is not that serious.
To cope with today’s world of mega-stress, conflict and uncertainty, “walking away” remains sound advice that should be remembered. Walking is a good, low-impact way to stretch and relax the body, which helps reduce pain, notes Writing Explained. It helps reduce and distract from stressful times. If a person is angry, it gives them time to calm down. It may be the best thing you can do if you are looking for a path to a healthier life.
Dr. Mike Bohl is director of medical content and education for telehealth company Ro and a member of its council of medical experts. In an article on Eat This, Not That, he points out that walking is a whole-body activity. “You use your leg muscles (which are the biggest muscles in the body), your abdominal muscles (to stabilize your spine and keep your balance), your arm muscles (to swing your arms), and walking also increases your heart rate and breathing rate (so your heart pumps more and your diaphragm moves up and down more).”
“When you step on half the muscle mass in your body, you are being challenged,” writes Jessica J. Lee, health reporter for The Guardian. According to Barry Franklin, director of preventive cardiology and cardiac rehabilitation at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, in a report by the American Heart Association News, “Walking does several things to improve health. It reduces your risk factors for cardiovascular disease, lowers body weight and stores fat, lowers blood sugar levels, modestly improves your lipid profile and reduces chronic stress.”
“Physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated,” an article from the Mayo Clinic reminds us. “Something as simple as a daily brisk walk can help you live a healthier life.“It doesn’t require access to a gym or fancy equipment, except maybe a good pair of shoes.” Taking that first step to better health can be as simple as… taking a first step “, writes Laura of the American Heart Association. Williamson.” Literally. Just put one foot in front of the other, as often as possible.”
“Walking five times a week for at least 30 minutes each time is fine, but so is walking five, 10, or 15 minutes at a time as many times as needed,” Franklin told Williamson. “I tell patients that they don’t have to put the dollar bill in the piggy bank all at once,” Franklin says. The more often you get up and move, the better. “Just keep moving — as much as you can, at whatever pace you can manage without dizziness or other symptoms of excess,” he adds.
For some people, counting steps might make sense, but for others, it might be a big detour. Don’t let that stop you. “The last decade of research (has been) concerned with the rise of ‘10,000 steps a day’ challenges and the use of pedometers and activity trackers. What they tell us is that even if all of these tools push us to count high steps, there isn’t exactly a magic number to reach,” Lee says. “The 10,000 figure was dreamed up as part of a campaign to 1960s pedometer marketing in Japan, and a recent study indicates that half that amount can be beneficial, with benefits plateauing after about 7,500 steps. The NHS (National Health Service) says 10 minutes of brisk walking a day makes a difference.” Be aware of the consequences of doing nothing.
“A study published last year in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke found that people with low levels of activity with eight or more hours of daily sedentary time had up to seven times the risk of stroke than more physically active people who reported less than four hours of sedentary time,” Williamson reports.
According to Healthline, a series of studies this year promoting exercise as a way to improve brain health found that walking quickly and walking far can help reduce the risk of dementia. The studies also suggest that people should focus on their walking pace rather than distance covered or number of steps per day, aiming for 112 steps per minute. “To find your steps per minute, count the number of steps in 10 seconds and then multiply by 6 to find your steps/minute,” they advise.
“When it comes to healthy aging, exercise is about the closest we’ve got to a miracle drug,” said Dr. Scott Kaiser, geriatrician and director of geriatric cognitive health for the Pacific Neuroscience Institute at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in California. says Healthline. “The key is to move and stay moving.”
Dr. Bohl suggests starting your walk “at your usual pace for several minutes, then picking up your pace for several minutes before returning to your usual speed. When you’re done, start again! Consider it a packed high. -workout intensity interval training.
Whatever you do, it’s important to make the act of walking enjoyable. “Rather than just jumping from A to B, think about your surroundings and the larger ramifications of your walk,” says Lee. “There is a growing body of research to support the idea that being in nature not only improves mental health but also physical health…researchers in 2005 found that walking or jogging , improved blood pressure and mental health, watching pleasant rural and urban scenes all had a better impact on health and broader self-esteem than exercising alone.”
So just try to get out of your way. Remember, as the Mayo Clinic says, “you are on your way to an important destination – better health.”
Write to Chuck Norris ([email protected]) with your health and fitness questions. Follow Chuck Norris on his official social media sites, on Twitter @chucknorris and on the “Official Chuck Norris Page” on Facebook. He blogs at http://chucknorrisnews.blogspot.com. To learn more about Chuck Norris and read articles by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at www.creators.com.
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