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130214 Physical activity guidelines and the benefits of walking

Physical activity guidelines and the benefits of walking

The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends at least two and a half hours of strength training per week by working muscle groups such as the shoulders, chest, upper back, lower back, legs, and abdominal muscles. And two and a half hours of moderate aerobic activity spread throughout the week. Exercise time is decreased if the intensity is higher. In this case, DHHS recommends one hour and fifteen minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, again spread throughout the week.

You will note there are no weekend warrior (meaning someone who tries to get all of their exercise time in on one day) recommendations here. Those who try to cram it all in on one-day or over two days frequently end up injured.

If you are not able to set aside 30 minutes each day, then do your exercises in 10-minute bursts over the course of the day.

Participating in a daily regimen of physical activity not only enhances your heart, lungs, and circulatory systems it also eases the pain of arthritis.

This may sound counterintuitive to the arthritis sufferer but the physical act of moving the joints keeps the synovial fluid, (the transparent, viscid fluid secreted by the synovial membrane and found in joint cavities, bursae, and tendon sheaths) of the joints equally spread throughout the joint.

Walking can help you attain and maintain a healthy weight, which is important because numerous studies have found a link between obesity and cancer of the colon, esophagus, kidneys, in the breast of postmenopausal women, and the uterus.

Physical activity can also reduce your risk of coronary artery disease, improve the efficiency of your cardiovascular system and boost the high-density lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol and can even help manage or prevent high blood pressure. As a side note, losing weight also has the tendency to lower your blood pressure numbers.

Fighting depression can be a lifelong struggle but scientists find that physical activity can be a useful addition to pharmacology and therapy for treating depression. If you are depressed, see someone and get help. Physical activity helps ease the stress of the day, helps cut back on anxiety, helps you sleep better, and boosts your spirits for facing the day.

Walking, as well as other physical activity can help prevent the risk of type II diabetes. Additionally physical activity may also make it possible to decrease the amount of insulin or other types of medications you may be taking to control your diabetes. It goes without saying, but I am going to say it anyway, see your Dr. before altering your medication.

Osteoporosis is a scary term for those with the diagnosis. Walking puts a load on the bones. This causes them to become stronger which in the long-term may well prevent fractures. Physical activity combined with a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D may help prevent or slow the progression of osteoporosis.

Summary:

There are many good reasons to exercise and probably 100 times that many excuses for not exercising. The decision is up to you as to whether or not you take advantage of the opportunities to exercise and thereby improve your health by engaging in more physical activity or simply sit around and complain about it.