What is walking good for

what is walking good for

Walking for Health

Walking for 30 minutes a day or more on most days of the week is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. If you can’t manage 30 minutes a day, remember ‘even a little is good, but more is better’. Walking with others can turn exercise into an enjoyable social occasion. To start, schedule your walking sessions for at least three times per week with the goal of eventually walking every day. Post-Walk Following your walk, it is a good idea to spend 5 to 10 minutes cooling down by walking at a slower, relaxed pace.

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How to find the best walking shoes for you

Walking poles improve balance and stability. Walking poles help you maintain proper posture, especially in the upper back, and may help to strengthen upper back muscles. Walking poles take some of the load off your lower back, hips and knees, which may be helpful if you have arthritis or back problems. Walking with poles may improve your mood. Apr 19,  · Walking for transportation is a good way to start any exercise program, and it's an excellent way to protect your health. Still, many men will get extra benefit from setting aside dedicated time to walk for exercise, health, and pleasure. Feb 22,  · Walking can be a good way for you to stay healthy. When you take up walking daily, your health can improve dramatically. Here are some powerful benefits of walking every day for 30 minutes: Improved digestion. Walking can help keep you regular. Mood improvement. Walking daily helps reduce depression, anxiety, and even insomnia.

Brisk walking improves brain health and thinking in aging people with memory impairments, according to a new, yearlong study of mild cognitive impairment and exercise. In the study, middle-aged and older people with early signs of memory loss raised their cognitive scores after they started walking frequently.

Regular exercise also amplified the healthy flow of blood to their brains. The changes in their brains and minds were subtle but consequential, the study concludes, and could have implications not just for those with serious memory problems, but for any of us whose memories are starting to fade with age.

Most of us, as we get older, will find that our ability to remember and think dulls a bit. This is considered normal, if annoying. But if the memory loss intensifies, it may become mild cognitive impairment, a medical condition in which the loss of thinking skills grows obvious enough that it becomes worrisome to you and others around you.

Scientists have not yet pinpointed the underlying causes of mild cognitive impairment, but there is some evidence that changes in blood flow to the brain can contribute. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to brain cells and if that stream sputters, so can the vitality of neurons. Unfortunately, many people experience declines in the flow of blood to their brains with age, when their arteries stiffen and hearts weaken.

But the good news is that exercise can increase brain blood flow, even when exercisers are not moving. In a neurological study , the brains of physically active older men showed much better blood saturation than those of sedentary men, even when everyone was quietly resting. The greater brain blood flow in people who exercise also is associated with better scores on tests of memory and thinking than among sedentary people. But these studies generally focused on people whose brains and cognition were relatively normal.

Exercise bulked up, for them, what already was reasonably sound. Far less is known about whether physical activity similarly benefits the blood flow, brains and thinking of people who are starting to experience more serious memory loss.

They first brought everyone into the lab and tested their current health, cognitive function and aerobic fitness. Then, using advanced ultrasounds and other techniques, they measured the stiffness of their carotid artery, which carries blood to the brain, and the amount of blood flowing to and through their brains.

Finally, they divided the volunteers into two groups. One began a program of light stretching and toning exercises, to serve as an active control group. The others started to exercise aerobically, mostly by walking on treadmills at the lab, and then, after a few weeks, outside on their own.

The exercisers were asked to keep their exertions brisk, so that their heart rates and breathing rose noticeably. They could swim, ride bikes or do ballroom dancing if they chose, but almost everyone walked.

The control group kept their heart rates low. Everyone in both groups worked out three times a week at first, for about half an hour and under supervision. They then added sessions on their own, until after six months, they were completing about five workouts most weeks.

This program continued for a year, in total. About 20 volunteers dropped out over that time, mostly from the walking group. Then the volunteers returned to the lab for a repeat of the original tests, and the researchers compared results. The aerobic exercise group also showed much less stiffness in their carotid arteries and, in consequence, greater blood flow to and throughout their brains. Perhaps most important, they also performed better now than the stretch-and-tone group on some of the tests of executive function, which are thinking skills involved in planning and decision-making.

These tend to be among the abilities that decline earliest in dementia. Interestingly, though, both groups had raised their scores slightly on most tests of memory and thinking, and to about the same extent. In effect, getting up and moving in any way — and perhaps also interacting socially with people at the lab — appeared to have burnished thinking skills and helped to stave off accelerating declines.

Still, the researchers believe that over a longer period of time, brisk walking would result in greater cognitive gains and less memory decline than gentle stretching, says Rong Zhang, a neurology professor at UT Southwestern Medical Center, who oversaw the new study. He and other researchers are planning larger, longer-lasting studies to test that idea, he says.

They hope, too, to investigate how more — or fewer — sessions of exercise each week might aid the brain, and whether there might be ways to motivate more of the volunteers to stick with an exercise program. Doing so, he says, may help to protect your lifelong ability to remember and think. Necessary cookies are absolutely essential for the website to function properly. This category only includes cookies that ensures basic functionalities and security features of the website.

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