The answer to the looming threat of obesity and cardiovascular disease could be as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. Indeed, according to a new campaign from managed-care giant Kaiser Permanente, walking has benefits in the short and long term.
“Yeah, yeah,” you might be saying. “People always tell me to get active and that it has real benefits. But what does it do for me besides tire me out?”
Stop your complaining. Put on your shoes and go out and take a 30-minute walk, right now. We are so not kidding. You can go around the block if you don’t want to stray far. Heck, you can even walk around your living room if you don’t want to leave the house. We’ll wait.
All done now?
Assuming that you’ve just taken that walk, you have already helped lower your blood sugar levels, according to Kaiser. Your muscles have soaked up blood sugar because of the energy you’ve expended.
You’ve likely released endorphins too, which have a relaxing and mood-stabilizing effect. Think “runner’s high,” but without the hassle of actually running (and the wear and tear on your knees). If you’re dealing with arthritis, Kaiser says, walking can also improve your flexibility and reduce your pain.
But, as they say in TV commercials, that’s not all!
In the longer term, walking proves even more valuable. According to the health group, walking 30 minutes at least three times a week can cut your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease in half. Your blood pressure will also improve, and you can even protect yourself against dementia!
Kaiser Permanente is working to spread the good word. On September. 20, it held a Walking Summit in Washington, D.C., led by physician and sports medicine expert Dr. Bob Sallis. The event, held with other organizations tackling the threat of chronic disease, looked at the myriad benefits of walking and how it can produce real results right away.
But enough from us. If you’ve taken the time to read this far, you should know how important a daily walk can be. Make sure one is on your schedule for tomorrow.