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Can You Walk Your Way to Better Health?

By Gary Picariello

When it comes to low-cost, easy-to-accomplish physical activities, walking has got to be at the top of the list! Think about it: no gyms or gym-fees, no waiting in line to use the weights, and no wiping someone else's sweat off the equipment. Walking can be done day or night and pretty much anywhere. Vigorous walking is a good aerobic activity that does our cardiovascular systems a lot of good. Studies have shown that walking just 20 minutes a day “leads to a remarkable reduction in the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and many other maladies.”

But in terms of fitness, not everyone is convinced. The big question is whether plain ol' walking does your heart and cardiovascular system any good.

A Happy Heart

Ah yes, the heart. We certainly use it in our everyday vernacular: "Getting to the heart of the matter," heartbreak, heartburn, heartache heartbeats and who knows what else. Thing is, for us to gain any of the benefits of aerobic fitness, whatever exercise we participate in must challenge the heart. The heart needs to work, and that means it needs to beat harder and faster. When the heart is challenged, it pumps more blood, and that means more oxygen --  which means more oxygen is circulating to the brain and coursing through your blood. You can diversify your walking by setting time and distance limits, and you can raise the bar even more with your walking by using hand or ankle weights. 

V Stands for Vigorous

The good news is that you don’t need t to replicate the Bataan Death March to reap the benefits of what walking can do for you. Even walking at a moderate intensity will increase your aerobic fitness and, more importantly, your endurance (i.e., do more and last longer, whatever the activity). 

So start walking like you mean it! Research has shown that "moderate intensity walking can prevent weight gain and assist in maintaining a healthy weight in as little as 150 minutes per week." In fact, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends “250 minutes or more exercise to lose a modest amount of weight.” But like anything, the more effort you put forth, the greater the results.

There are plenty of great reasons to walk, and getting from Point A to Point B is just one of many!

To learn more about your health, wellness and fitness, see your local chiropractor at the Joint Chiropractic in Hoboken, N.J.

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