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Research Shows New Walking Health Benefits

By Sandy Schroeder

We have all heard about the dangers of sitting, and the value of walking. But now the Harvard health community is telling us about new findings with more benefits.

If your physician approves of walking routines for you, there are other benefits to consider.

Walking May Fight Weight Promoting Genes

According to Harvard researchers, healthharvard.edu, who studied 32 obesity-promoting genes in 12,000 people, participants who did brisk walks 30 minutes daily cut the effect of weight-promoting genes by 50 percent.

Walking Reduces the Urge to Eat Sweets

When stress hits and you reach for a candy bar, you might be wise to just take a walk. Researchers found a 15-minute walk can cut chocolate cravings. Overall, walking may weaken the urge for sugary foods.

Walking May Ease Joint Pain

Harvard researchers say walking may work to reduce or avoid arthritis pain for those who do not have it. Several studies showed walking may protect joints, specifically in hips and knees, by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.   

If you are fortunate enough to not have arthritis, researchers say more extensive walking on a weekly basis may help to prevent arthritis from starting.

(As always, before considering changes to your current activities, speak with your physician about your current health situation.)

Walking May Cut Breast Cancer Risk

An American Cancer Society study that focused on walking found women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or less per week.

Walking May Boost Immunity

Researchers studied more than 1,000 people who walked 20 minutes a day, five days a week. They found these people had 43 percent fewer sick days than people who exercised once a week, or less. If they did get sick, it was milder and briefer.

If you already have a walking routine in place, this may be added motivation to be out there every day. If you walk some, but find it hard to squeeze sessions in, you might consider using a treadmill too, or getting up a half-hour early to take a short walk in the morning. Other people say taking the dog for a walk can be a great prompt. He never forgets to let you know it is a time for a walk! Whatever fits you, walking daily may prove to be a good health choice.

Evaluate where you are, and check with your physician first to see if these walking benefits will work for you

 

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