Walking a great choice for preventive medicine

As our nation continues to struggle with obesity, inactivity, diabetes and other disorders, it seems a simple walk might be just what the doctor ordered to regain or sustain health.

When it comes to the U.S. health care system, there’s the argument that we’ve become a nation focused on treating diseases as opposed to one that encourages prevention with nourishing foods, exercise and natural products.

As alternative health care practitioners help patients find safe, natural ways to enhance healing and promote vitality, recommending a 30-minute to one-hour walk just a few days a week could help support several health regimens. According to the AARP, walking can help prevent depression, osteoporosis and impotence. In addition, it can lower stress, relieve arthritis, drop blood pressure and help people maintain healthy weights.

In fact, statistics gleaned from the AARP demonstrate there are some significant benefits to walking:

  • Just 30 minutes of walking per day has been shown to decrease heart disease risk 30 percent to 40 percent in women. It also can promote healthy cholesterol levels.
  • A brisk walk for one hour a day, five days a week in men might cut stroke risk in half.
  • People at high risk for type-2 diabetes could cut in half the chance of developing the disease with walking, reduced fat intake and a 5 percent to 7 percent weight loss.
  • The need for gallstone surgery was shown to be reduced 20 percent to 30 percent in women 40 to 65 who regularly walked.

Try a pedometer

To help encourage walking, it might be a good idea to use a pedometer, which counts steps. A recent study reveals that pedometers might provide that extra push to get overweight or obese people moving, according to a story from HealthDay.

Pedometers provide walkers a way to set goals, which can be met throughout the day or during time set aside for exercise. According to the story, walking with a pedometer helped patients who made no other diet or lifestyle changes lose about 1 pound every 10 weeks, on average. The results were achieved at 2,000 to 4,000 steps per day, about 1 to 2 miles. That roughly translates into 20 to 40 minutes of walking.

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