Walk for health, walk for love

Updated: 2013-09-20 16:16

(China Daily)

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Seven reasons to walk

Here are some reasons to take those extra steps and make walking a part of your lifestyle:

1. It helps prevent diabetes. Recent research has linked brisk walking with a significant risk reduction in developing Type 2 diabetes. A recent British study found people with a family history of the disease who walked briskly, or performed some other type of moderate to vigorous activity on a regular basis, improved their insulin sensitivity.

2. It saves money on gym costs. People are cutting back on excessive spending, and that includes trips to health clubs. No matter where you live, there's a place you can pound the pavement or trek a trail, and 150 minutes of moderate-intensity walking a week can help manage stress and prevent heart disease.

3. It can get you off medication. Using data from the National Walkers' Health Study, which included more than 32,000 women and 8,000 men, researchers found that those who took the longest weekly walks, but not necessarily accumulated the most mileage per week, were more likely to use less medication.

4. It can help ease fibromyalgia pain. This chronic condition affects many people and its symptoms include pain, fatigue and mental lapses. A small study found that in women 32 to 70 years old, those who walked 60 minutes, performed light exercises and stretched three times a week for 18 weeks reported significant improvements in their mental and physical fitness and were less tired and depressed.

5. It may help beat breast cancer. Women who walk regularly after being diagnosed with breast cancer have a 45 percent greater chance of survival than those who are inactive, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

6. Strolling reduces the risk of strokes. Walking briskly for just 30 minutes, five days a week can significantly lower your chances of suffering a stroke, according to University of South Carolina researchers.

7. It can improve brain function. Italian researchers enlisted 749 people suffering from memory problems and measured their walking habits and other moderate activities, such as yard work. At the four-year follow-up, they found that those who expended the most energy walking had a 27 percent lower risk of developing dementia than the people who expended the least. This could be a result of physical activity increasing blood flow to the brain.

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