By now, surely everyone knows that exercising is good for whatever ails you. It is less well-known that you don’t have to join a gym, squeeze into yoga pants, or even buy fancy running shoes (Nike will survive)—just walk. As you will see, I’ve assembled this blog on that subject from 3 main sources (one has several references).
Newspaper online. An article in the New York Times is my favorite source this time. It said “Walking after a meal, conventional wisdom says, helps clear your mind and aids in digestion. Scientists have also found that going for a 15-minute walk after a meal can reduce blood sugar levels, which can help ward off complications such as Type 2 diabetes. But, as it turns out, even just a few minutes of walking can activate these benefits. The best news was that as little as a 2 to 5-minute walk after dinner can have positive effects.” Now we are getting to something even lazy bums like me can manage! This link is to the NYT article, but note, you likely have to register to read it .
AARP Magazine – The AARP article itself has just flat disappeared. So, I went to their website and found this info: “Walking 9,800 Steps a Day May Cut Dementia Risk in Half–Faster pace, even with fewer steps, may also offer brain benefits, research suggests. A new study finds that older adults who got in just under 10,000 steps a day — 9,800, to be exact — were 50 percent less likely to develop dementia. Even those who racked up 3,800 daily steps saw a 25 percent reduction in risk.” (hmm…maybe if I had been walking more I would know where the stupid article is).
Chat GPT – April 13, 2023, I used Bing’s artificial intelligence (AI) app to help write a blog about chocolate. This one seems better. By the way, many folks are worried that computers / robots are going to take over the world and dominate (or even eliminate) humans like the HAL 9000 did in the movie, 2001 A Space Odyssey. The AI utility is really quite amazing. But, I want to point out that by simply using a FREE AI app, I am not supporting research into making the robots more powerful. What follows below, unless in bracketed [italics], or my closing paragraph is Chat GPT’s research and text. I only did some minor formatting:
INTRO: Walking is one of the simplest and most accessible forms of exercise. It is a low-impact activity that can be done almost anywhere and requires no special equipment. Walking has numerous benefits for both physical and mental health. In this article, we will explore some of the benefits of walking and discuss the research that supports these claims.
Physical benefits of walking
- Improved cardiovascular health – Walking is a great way to improve cardiovascular health. It increases heart rate and strengthens the heart and lungs, reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. According to the American Heart Association, walking for at least 30 minutes a day can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease.
- Weight management – Walking is an effective way to maintain a healthy weight or lose weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), walking burns calories and can help you maintain a healthy weight. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that walking for 30 minutes a day can lead to a significant reduction in body fat and body weight.
- Improved bone health – Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that helps to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, walking can help to improve bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.
- Improved joint health – Walking is a low-impact exercise that is gentle on the joints. It can help to reduce joint pain and stiffness, especially in people with arthritis. A study published in the Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy found that walking can improve joint mobility and reduce pain in people with knee osteoarthritis.
Mental health benefits of walking
- Reduced stress and anxiety – Walking is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety. It releases endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers. According to a study published in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, walking can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression.
- Improved cognitive function – Walking can help to improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of dementia. According to a study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, walking for at least 30 minutes a day can improve cognitive function and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Improved mood – Walking can help to improve mood and reduce the risk of depression. According to a study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, walking for at least 30 minutes a day can improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
- Increased creativity – Walking can help to increase creativity and boost productivity. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, walking can help to improve creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
AI’s Conclusion – [I deleted the AI conclusion because it was just repetitive and dull. The research the bot did was useful but I think I should have asked it to make the “article” more concise and entertaining…I will experiment with that if there is a next time]
AI Supplied Sources:
- American Heart Association: Walking for a Healthy Heart
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Walking: A Step in the Right Direction
- Journal of Physical Activity and Health: Walking for Weight Loss: The Pedometer as an Indicator of Physical Activity
- National Osteoporosis Foundation: Exercise for Strong Bones
- Journal of Geriatric Physical Therapy: The Effects of Walking on Joint Mobility, and Pain in Older Adults with Knee Osteoarthritis
- Erickson, K. I., Hillman, C. H., & Kramer, A. F. (2015). Physical activity, brain, and cognition. Current opinion in behavioral sciences, 4, 27-32. doi: 10.1016/j.cobeha.2015.01.005
My final addition: I (the human, Martie) came across an interesting study which says that taking that walk out in nature (or even just being there) can reduce the need for psychotropic, anti-hypertensive and asthma medication.