STEP IT UP FOR HEALTH- May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month
Did you know that in the United States the average adult takes approximately 5,117 steps per day? That may sound like quite a few steps, but according to the American College of Sports Medicine, in order to fall into the physically active category you would have to double it. Don’t let these numbers overwhelm you. Start with baby steps and keep your eyes on the goal — it will make you healthier.
Benefits of Walking
Walking is incredibly beneficial. Not only does walking:
- Increase “good” HDL cholesterol levels,
- Reduce the risk of heart disease,
- Help improve both blood sugar and blood pressure, and
- Balance stress hormones, it also can
- Help your brain.
In the October 19, 2010 issue of Neurology, Dr. Kirk I. Erickson, Ph.D. and his team found that walking can decrease an individual’s risk of developing memory issues and can improve brain function. According to Dr. Erickson, “It appears there are some fairly rapid cognitive benefits, so starting to exercise in late age isn’t futile.”
An initial goal to add 20 to 25 minutes of daily walking to your routine is a good start. For those of you who are already active, it’s still a good start. This will add approximately 2000 steps per day or about one mile, and burns around 100 calories. This level of exercise is enough to avoid the one to two pounds usually gained annually by the average adult. If this is too much to start with, try walking for 10 minutes each day and increase gradually. Even that amount of exercise can save your life. According to David R. Bassett, Jr., Ph.D., director of the Obesity Research Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, women who walk just one hour per week have a better chance of living longer than their peers who are less active.
Afraid your body can’t handle the exercise because you are overweight? Don’t worry, it’s stronger than you think. University of Pittsburgh researchers discovered that overweight and obese people in walking programs had comparable injury rates as those sedentary overweight and obese people. Prior to increasing your exercise, see a doctor and make sure you use good quality walking shoes.
Whether you are interested in losing weight or just want to stay healthy, not only will regular exercise help get you there, but Precise Portions can provide assistance with their easy to use nutrition control system. Try their portion control plates and glasses and check out their recipes, and tools for living healthy.