Walking Can Slow Aging and Reduce Risk of Certain Chronic Health Issues
TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Americans today get less daily physical activity than at any other time in history. In the past, we got exercise by walking everywhere instead of driving and growing our own food instead of going through a drive-through. Rather than spending hours in front of the television, children played outside with their friends.
Today, we rely upon automobiles, computers, remote controls, and even vacuum robots to make life easier for us. We have to look for ways to be deliberate in our exercise.
Would you like to slow down the aging process and help repair old DNA? How about reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, obesity, colon and breast cancer, Type 2 diabetes, stroke, and osteoporosis?
Research shows that walking 30 minutes or more daily may help reduce the risks of certain health conditions as well as enhance mental well-being and improve blood pressure, blood sugar levels and blood lipid levels. Walking has been linked to improving sleep, supporting joint health, improving circulation, reducing the incidence of disability in those over 65. In addition, walking properly can help improve posture and muscle tone to prevent twisted ankles and developing calluses but it takes time and concentration to achieve.
To walk correctly you need to relax your shoulders; keep them back and down. Stand tall with a lifted chest, back straight. Bend arms 90 degrees at the elbow and swing in time with the opposite leg. This balances the body. Point chin down and pull in slightly to place neck in a neutral position. This supports the head and prevents neck pain. Check that hips are level, knees pointing forward. Hold head straight; do not tilt to one side. Strike the ground with your heel first, and then roll towards balls of your feet and push off your toes.
The act of walking is beneficial, as it is a fundamental movement of the human body. If you are just starting out on a walking program, after being mostly sedentary, walk at a comfortable pace and work gradually on increasing your pace and distance.
A research study by the European Society of Cardiology Congress followed 69 people between the ages of 30 and 60. Those who engaged in daily moderate exercise, such as a brisk walk or jog, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and strength training experienced anti-aging benefits that could add an additional three to seven years to your life.
High-intensity interval training for walking could include 3 minutes of leisurely walking followed by 3 minutes of fast walking, alternating during your walking session. Researchers found interval walkers significantly improved aerobic fitness, leg strength, and blood-pressure readings compared to walkers who used a continuous moderate pace during their walking sessions.
Need some help getting started with a walking plan? Consider forming a team and joining the Fall Walk Across Arkansas, starting September 17 and going through November 11. This eight-week program encourages participants to get out and exercise! To join, you simply need to form a team of 2 to 10 people, register your team and members online at www.uaex.edu/walk and start walking. Teams can begin registering now and start reporting their time on September 17.
Throughout the 8 weeks, members will log the time they exercise each day on a weekly basis. You don’t have to exercise as a team. While walking is the preferred method of exercise, many other types of exercise can be counted, including housework, gardening, etc. The goal is to get up and get moving!
Members will receive encouragement throughout the program through online newsletters, which are full of tips and tricks to keep you on track including nutrition information. And the best thing is it is free to join!
We already have our team formed in our office and hope you will join with us too!
For more information, contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215 at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at firstname.lastname@example.org, on Facebook at UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at uaex.edu/Miller.
An important component of walking is keeping your body hydrated. Since so many people do not like plain water, try Citrus infused water instead. Infused water tastes great and is low-calorie and low-cost.
Citrus Infused Water
Citrus – Lemons, oranges, limes, grapefruit 2 small or 1 large. Slice thinly in whole circles or quarter wedges. Leave skin on for added color and flavor. Trim away any damaged or bruised areas on produce before adding to water. Use glass containers for citrus; plastic containers can be damaged by the citrus. Refrigerate for several hours or overnight to allow the most flavoring. Produce from the water can be used as a garnish in drinking cups. Water will last up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
By Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
The Cooperative Extension Service
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley
County Extension Agent - FCS
U of A Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service
400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854
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