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The benefits of a 15 minute walk

Regular exercise has a fundamental impact on our mental and physical well being. Given the modern lifestyle finding time to workout everyday can be hard, whether you are working from home or the office.

Studies have shown that taking a 15min walk everyday can add years to your life. Here’s how:

  • Improves mood: a walk outside gives your a vitamin D boost and we now that this is significant for mood management. It can also increase your attentiveness concentration by increasing the blood circulation to the brain (as well as other parts). It can stimulate the production of naturally occurring mood managing hormones called endorphins. Adding music can enhance this even more.

  • Relieves back pain. The walking movement, if done with a decent length of stride creates movement in your pelvis and low back. If you job is sedentary then this exercise will increase blood supply to the area as well as working on natural range of movement keeping the muscles stimulated and long.

  • Shrink the size of your hips. Besides the increase to your metabolic rate while walking, striding out and landing on your heels automatically causes your bottom muscles (glutei) to fire. Not only will these help with low back discomfort but the toning of these muscles will help with body shape across the waist and bottom in general.

  • Lower risk of blood clots in your legs. A sedentary life style leads to a relatively slow blood flow through the legs which can predispose to deep vein thrombosis in some. The use of the legs leads to better blood flow through the pumping of the heart and the contraction of the muscles of the legs, helping to reduce the risk of clots.

  • Lowers blood pressure and risk of heart attack. A sedentary lifestyle or significant stress can lead to an increase risk of higher blood pressure and the subsequent strain on the whole cardiovascular system, especially the heart. A good walk not only has a positive effect on mental stresses but can also help to keep blood pressure down. A study from Harvard revealed the following:

i) walking at least nine miles a week was linked to a 22% lower

death rate.

ii) among male professionals walking at least 30 minutes a day was linked to an

18% lower risk of coronary artery disease.

iii) female nurses, walking at least three hours a week was linked to a 35% lower

risk of heart attack and cardiac death and a 34% lower risk of stroke.

  • Strong arms and upper back. A good brisk walk invariable uses the arms as well. If you swing freely, not quite a march but close, you will work the muscles of your arms, shoulders and even a set of muscles called the latissimus doors that connect your arms to your low back. Keep the arms straight and you will work harder than if they are bent. This is because a straight arm is twice as long and needs more muscle effort to control the swing.

  • Tightens abs. Because you use the opposite arms to legs, the body rotates as you walk. This rotation is significantly controlled by the abdominal muscles so a regular walk will help to keep your abdominal muscles strong which is also an essential for movement in all aspects of life from standing up to sitting down, bending, carrying and even laughing.

  • Healthy Joints. Walking is a one legged exercise, not quite a significant as running as you do not jump from one leg to another. But the landing action stimulates muscles that cross the joints at the knees, hips, ankles and even toes. Strong muscles help to maintain strong stable joint movement and weight bearing. In addition movement of the joints helps to stimulate the body’s naturally occurring lubricating fluid, called synovial fluid. This helps to maintain joint health.

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