Blairgowrie and District Next Steps

 

 

Home

 

What Hiking Does To The Brain Is Pretty Amazing

 

How to do CPR, a YouTube video

 

Abdominal Thrusts, a YouTube video

 

Health benefits of walking

 

Studies show that walking can:  

Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke

Lower blood pressure

Reduce high cholesterol and improve blood lipid profile

Reduce body fat

Enhance mental well being

Increase bone density, hence helping to prevent osteoporosis

Reduce the risk of cancer of the colon

Reduce the risk of non insulin dependant diabetes

Help to control body weight

Help osteoarthritis

Help flexibility and co-ordination hence reducing the risk of falls

Help reduce the incidence and onset of Alzheimers or dementia.

(Sources: Davison & Grant 1993, US Dept of Health 1996, British Heart Foundation 2000)  

 

Walking is one of the easiest and safest exercises around. Although walking is not as intense as aerobics or weight lifting it has a number of benefits. For starters it’s kind to the joints, there are virtually no side effects and the risk of injury is very low compared with other exercises. Even if you are currently participating in a regular exercise routine, adding a steady walk will help.  

 

Mental Benefits of Walking

 

See this latest report from the BBC: Can you prescribe nature?

 

So, lowered blood pressure, less joint pressure, a decreased risk of stroke and an opportunity to keep excess weight at bay not enough to get you walking? How about a better night’s sleep, decreased stress, a better memory and less depression?

 

While walking boasts a number of physical benefits, it also can give the brain mental boosts as well. Some examples of the emotional benefits of exercise:

Walking slows mental decline. A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by researchers at the University of Cali­fornia, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17-percent decline in memory, as opposed to a 25-percent decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week.

 

Walking lowers Alzheimer’s risk. A study from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville found that men between the ages of 71 and 93 who walked more than a quarter of a mile per day had half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who walked less.

 

Walking improves sleep. A study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre in Seattle found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk.

 

Walking lightens mood. Research reported in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that walking 30 minutes a day boosted the moods in depressed patients faster than antidepressants. Why? Walking releases natural pain­killing endorphins in the body – and produces one of the emotional benefits of exercise. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were.

 

Besides these mental benefits of walking, it also serves as a form of meditation. An outdoor stroll can help erase a bad day as you instead start to focus on the surrounding environment. Carolyn S. Kortge began walking in the ’80s and entered her first race-walking competition in the ’90s, eventually becoming a USA Track and Field Association bronze and silver race-walking medalist. Carolyn, who lives in Eugene, Ore., was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in 2004, but continues to keep her mind off the pain in her knees and hands by walking daily.

 

“When you’re walking there’s an opportunity for meditative intent.  You can be silent and focus on creating a connection with your body through prayer, breathing or a phrase,” she says. “It’s a wonderful way of changing your focus.”

 

The Environmental Benefits

 

Walking is the greenest, not to mention cheapest, method of travel. Fit more walking into your lifestyle and reap the environmental and health benefits.   However the environmental benefits of walking provide a compelling argument for doing more of it. The only fuel you need to walk is food and drink. Cars, on the other hand, are expensive and inefficient in their fuel consumption. You can reduce your carbon footprint massively by walking shorter journeys instead of driving. You’ll also save on fuel costs.

 

Walk and Get Happy

 

Walking outdoors in fresh air and pleasant scenery should boost mood even more than trudging on a treadmill in the lab. If you are feeling down, let your feet do the walking to a better outlook.

 

Walking and exercise has benefits beyond the merely physical. Many people walk as much for mental and spiritual well-being as for fitness.

 

Can walking make you happy? Can it help you deal with life stress? Can it help you work through relationship problems? Can it lead to a deeper spiritual and religious life? For many, the answer is yes.

 

This is Your Brain on Walking

 

Exercise, such as walking, increases the blood flow to the brain. A 1999 study of people over 60 found that walking 45 minutes a day at 16-minute mile pace increased the thinking skills of those over 60. The participants started at 15 minutes of walking and built up their time and speed. The result was that the same people were mentally sharper after taking up this walking program.

Get smart - get walking. 

 

Walking can help relieve stress.  A Nov. 9, 1999 study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that university students who walked and did other easy to moderate exercise regularly had lower stress levels than couch potatoes or those who exercised strenuously.

 

Walking gives you time to think, as well as time to get away from the stressors. Getting out of the stressful environment, breathing the air and feeling your body move is natural stress-relief. 

 

 

 

Home