#7: Walking

We are all familiar with the benefits of regular exercise.  However, in the days of power yoga and Crossfit, we may be over-doing it.   Studies show that a consistent regimen of light to moderate exercise is the best way to improve immune function.  Strenuous exercise like running and weight lifting have their merits too, for the cardiovascular system and weight loss.  But simply going for a stroll around the park can offer a quick boost to the immune system leaving you in a better position to fight off those nasty cancer cells.  

In a 2013 study, it was reported that postmenopausal women who walked for 7 hours or more each week were at a 14% lower risk of developing breast cancer.  This held true across the board, without differences among women with higher BMI, higher estrogen levels, weight gain, or whether or not they were on a regimen of post menopausal hormone replacement therapy. 

Postmenopausal or not, we can all benefit from taking a few more steps each day.  Walking can lower blood pressure, improve cardiovascular function, boost the immune system, and lower stress.  

walking man

We all live in a time when our smart devices are on average no further than 3 feet away from us at all times thorughout the day.  Not great for our stress levels, but these devices can make it so very easy to track our steps.  The analog pedometer is a thing of the distant past.  As long as you carry a smart phone, chances are it is already calculating your steps each and every day for you.  Take a look into your applications, and maybe you even already have an app that encourages you to take more steps and compares your steps to friends, family, and others nearby.   

A cancer survivor in Los Angeles describes how she used a wearable fitness tracker during her treatment, "I was able to be more active as the medications took effect, and I got a better handle on the pain".  Not only did the walking seem to lessen her pain, but it became a way in which she was able to track her overall health.  "When the device showed that I could manage 1,000 steps a day, I challenged myself to walk a little further".  Now, she is back to doing longer hikes and averaging 10,000 steps per day.  

So what is the golden number you should shoot for each day?  In "How Not to Die" by Michael Greger, "walking for only 60 minutes a week only drops your mortality rate about 3 percent.  But walking 300 minutes a week drops your mortality rate by 14 percent.  And an hour long walk each day may reduce mortality by 24 percent!"  

Like eating healthy, the more you do it the more benefits you will reap.  Now go sign up for the fitness app and start tracking your steps today!  

 

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24097200

http://www.curetoday.com/publications/cure/2017/summer-2017/can-fitness-trackers-improve-health-in-cancer-survivors

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