What if I told you there is an exercise that has more than 31 major benefits for your health including everything from lowering your body fat percentage to toning your abs, decreasing lower back pain and reducing your risk of heart attack, stroke and glaucoma while also decreasing your risk of catching a cold or upper respiratory tract infection? With so many Americans talking about the cost of health care lately — what if I told you that this exercise can positively impact 8 out of the 10 most costly health conditions in the U.S.? (Heart disease, cancer, COPD, asthma, diabetes, osteoporosis, arthritis, and back problems.) And — as if all that is not enough — it also improves your mood, boosts endorphins, reduces fatigue and lowers your stress hormones as well. What’s more, this exercise is absolutely free and you only really need one piece of equipment/apparel to do it. And most importantly, you don’t need a lot of time. Only 15-40 minutes a day 5 days per week will tone and trim your body, vastly improve your health and could even save your life.
You probably guessed that I’m talking about walking! But I would be surprised if you were aware of all 31 benefits that walking can bring. More on those soon, I promise. First, let’s find out how we’re doing so far with regard to walking.
How Many Steps Do Americans Take Per Day Compared to People in Other Countries? In a study published in October 2010 in the journal “Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,” researchers used pedometers to track the steps of 1,136 American adults. They found that people living in the U.S. take fewer steps than adults in Australia, Switzerland and Japan.
* Australians averaged 9,695 steps a day.
* Swiss adults averaged 9,650, steps a day.
* Japanese averaged 7,168 steps a day.
* Americans averaged just 5,117 steps a day.
According to the CDC, 36% of Americans are obese, while a 2010 Reuters article states that “During the past decade Australia, Japan and Switzerland have reported obesity rates of 16%, 3% and 8%, respectively.” And it’s not just lower obesity rates; it’s longer life expectancy as well. As A 2013 CNN article reported, 2011 data shows that 27 countries (including those daily walkers in Australia, Switzerland and Japan!) have higher life expectancies at birth than the United States.
Next, Let’s Look at All 23 Health, Fitness and Wellness Benefits Walking Offers…
According to this excellent walking infographic, created by EverybodyWalk.org, walking:
* Boosts endorphins, lowering stress, fatigue and anger in 10 minutes.
* Reduces Glaucooma risk. (It reduces the pressure inside the eye, which lowers your chance of developing glaucoma, according to the Arthritis Foundation.)
* Cuts Alzheimer’s Disease risk by 50% over 5 years.
* Decreases the odds of catching a cold by 30-50%.
* Lowers blood pressure by five points.
* Reduces colon cancer by 31% for women.
* Engages and tones ab muscles.
* Builds bone mass by reducing risk of osteoporosis.
Additionally, the GlobalFit walking infographic embedded and shareable below in this blog post, shows that walking can positively impact 8 out of the 10 most costly health conditions. For example, you can expect:
* 54% lower risk of heart attack with 2-4 hours of fast walking per week.
* 30-40% less risk of coronary heart disease with 3 hours of brisk walking per week.
* 30% less risk of upper respiratory tract infections with a daily brisk walk.
* 54% lower death rates for type 2 diabetics who walk 3-4 hours per week.
* 40% decrease in lower back pain and disability.
* Arthritis can be prevented and managed with regular walking.