"I saw it on the internet or TV, they say, I heard that, someone on facebook (or other social media) wrote," are phrases which often precede advice given to us by friends, co-workers, family, and others. This advice, often unsolicited, is designed to help us improve our lives. While most of us would agree we could use some help in improving our personal health and wellness, the bombardment from media and people in our life can be overwhelming.
Extension Education to the rescue! For more than 100 years, the University of Arkansas System, Division of Agriculture, Research and Extension has strengthened agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. We take the findings of scientific research from the lab to the public helping individuals and families find ways to make personal application.
This column is designed to provide readers with practical, relevant insights into improving personal and family health and wellness. Topics are normally chosen at the discretion of the columnist however readers are invited to send questions of interest on health and wellness to Dr. Pamela Pruett at email@example.com.
What can you do in 10 minute increments three times per day five days per week that doesn't require gym membership, special equipment, or athletic ability yet can yield significant impact on your health and wellness? If you guessed walking, you are correct. The only equipment needed are good walking shoes which many people already own or can buy at a reasonable price.
According to the American Heart Association, "walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running, according to a new study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkley, Calif. All three conditions are risk factors for heart disease and stroke."
"Researchers analyzed 33,060 runners in the National Runners' Health Study and 15,045 walkers in the National Walkers' Health Study. They found that the same energy used for moderate- intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and possibly coronary heart disease over the study's six years," reported the American Heart Association.
The American Heart Association and the National Dietary Guidelines for Americans from the United States Department of Agriculture recommendation for adults include 30 minutes of physical activity per day, at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week.
The good news is walking works and even in 10 minute increments at a minimum of 30 minutes per day five days each week, your health benefits. Increasing physical activity stimulates brain activity and walking has been linked to improving mood. Research targeting older adults has indicated starting a walking program at any age improved their overall health.
So get off the sofa and take three 10 minute walking breaks (or any increment you prefer) for a total of 150 minutes weekly. Walk your way to improving heart health.