Friday, January 8, 2016

100 Reasons Why Walking Does a Body Good

The start of a New Year has everyone thinking about New Year resolutions, one of the most common of which is to start living a healthier lifestyle. What better way to begin than by going outside for a walk?

The Walk With a Doc (WWAD) program encourages healthy physical activity in people of all ages by organizing physician-led walks with patients. The walks are an opportunity for physicians to encourage an active lifestyle and answer patients’ health-related questions in an environment less intimidating than the exam room. Mostly, it’s a way to get patients moving, because — as WWAD points out — there are 100 benefits to walking:

100 Benefits of Walking 
  1. Reduces blood pressure
  2. Lowers cholesterol
  3. Increases the concentration of high-density lipoprotein (HDL or “good” cholesterol in the blood)
  4. Reduces chances for coronary heart disease
  5. Increases efficiency of heart and lowers resting heart rate
  6. Makes heart muscle stronger
  7. Improves contractile function of the heart
  8. Strengthens lungs
  9. Improves respiratory function
  10. Improves cardiovascular endurance and performance
  11. Provides more oxygen to the body, including organs and muscles
  12. Provides more nutrient supply to the body
  13. Reduces chance of stroke (by up to 50 percent)
  14. Helps alleviate varicose veins
  15. Increases metabolic rate
  16. Stimulates digestion
  17. Makes digestion more efficient
  18. Stimulates intestinal movements, resulting in better elimination of wastes
  19. Reduces chances for colon cancer
  20. Strengthens and develops muscles
  21. Increases efficiency of muscles
  22. Benefits joints due to stronger muscles
  23. Helps maintain cartilage health in the joints
  24. Eases muscular tension
  25. Alleviates back problems
  26. Increases muscle flexible and agility
  27. Improves speed of muscle contraction and reaction time
  28. Enhances skin health by opening skin pores while walking, resulting in more efficient removal of dirt and impurities
  29. Burns up and removes toxins from the body
  30. Increases blood flow to the brain
  31. Stimulates growth of nerve cells in the memory center of the brain
  32. Improves various indexes of psychological functioning
  33. Enhances brain functioning by increasing the amount of oxygen available to it
  34. Increases sense of well-being
  35. Increases resistance to pain because endorphin levels are elevated
  36. Increases sense of excitement because hormone epinephrine is elevated
  37. Alleviates boredom
  38. Lessens worry and tension
  39. Reduces stress by removing lactic acid from the blood
  40. Alleviates anxiety and/or pain because the tranquilizing effect of exercise lasts for several hours
  41. Enhances mood
  42. Provides an excellent opportunity to enhance one’s social network
  43. Boosts energy
  44. Improves self-esteem and self-confidence as body and mind are improved and strengthened
  45. Increases one’s sense of self-control
  46. Provides a source of pleasure and fun
  47. Releases anger and negative emotions
  48. Reduces depression more effectively than short- or long-term psychotherapy
  49. Enhances coordination, power, timing, and balance
  50. Boosts immune system functioning
  51. Reduces severity of asthma
  52. Improves functioning of organs
  53. Can relieve tension headaches
  54. Can reduce the urge to smoke because the adrenaline rush and stress relief from a brief workout can replace similar feelings smokers get from tobacco
  55. Burns calories
  56. Causes the body to use calories more efficiently
  57. Causes weight loss
  58. Allows one to keep lost weight from returning
  59. Can act as an appetite suppressant
  60. Decreases fat tissue
  61. Improves physical appearance
  62. Enhances one’s image and opinion of his or her body
  63. Improves bone density and prevents osteoporosis
  64. Reduces joint discomfort
  65. Helps manage arthritis
  66. Allows one to feel better about his or her body and enjoy sex more as a result
  67. Provides an enhanced ability to achieve orgasm
  68. Allows for greater sexual satisfaction
  69. Can reduce or eliminate impotence due to increased blood flow
  70. Prevents or manages type 2 diabetes
  71. Helps insulin work better, lowering blood sugar
  72. Has a significant salutary effect on fibrinogen levels
  73. Alleviates menstrual cramps
  74. Improves athletic performance
  75. Can add years to one’s life
  76. Enhances quality of life
  77. Reduces pain and disability
  78. Improves glycogen storage
  79. Reduces risk of developing certain types of cancers of the colon, prostate, uterine lining, and breast, and other chronic diseases
  80. Regulates hormones
  81. Allows one to overcome illness or injury more quickly
  82. Can lessen medical bills
  83. Reduces anxiety by causing fewer worries about health
  84. Can allow for better performance at work
  85. Allows one to stay independent as he or she gets older
  86. Can keep health care insurance premiums lower
  87. Makes one more attractive to potential mates
  88. Allows for a healthy pregnancy
  89. Increases energy and ability to do things one likes
  90. Allows one to be more productive and less stymied by stress and depression
  91. Can help make possible increased income due to increased energy
  92. Allows one to become more familiar with his or her body and its functioning
  93. Can stimulate one mentally
  94. Lets one eat more without gaining weight
  95. Provides a healthy break from work
  96. Adds variety and spice to life
  97. Gives one increased ability to defend oneself and loved ones if needed
  98. Provides a natural high afterwards, such as runners’ high
  99. Provides heightened alertness
  100. Reduces inflammation 

The Texas Medical Association brings the Walk With a Doc Texas program to TMA member physicians for free. If you would like more information about the WWAD Texas program, contact Debra Heater at (512) 370-1390 or debra.heater@texmed.org.

This list originally appeared in a Walk With a Doc newsletter. The Walk With a Doc program is a nonprofit program that encourages anyone interested in taking steps for his or her health to walk with community physicians, specialists, and health care professionals, who provide support and answer questions. In Texas, where there are 24 walk sites, Walk with a Doc is made possible through a grant from TMA Foundation that includes generous gifts from TMA Insurance Trust and Prudential.

Cited sources:
Mayo Clinic 
Georgia State University
FamilyDoctor.org
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
MedicineNet.com

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