"Death has a very high mortality rate," Consensus 2,000.
Walking is one of the best, most convenient fitness activities. With a good pair of shoes, most people can walk. Here are ten good reasons to walk.
Walk to a Longer life. According to a 12-year study, (New England Journal of Medicine, Jan 8, 1998), retired men who walked more than 2 miles a day lived longer than those who walked less than a mile a day. Only 23.8% of the 14 mile plus per week group died during that time; yet 40.5% died from the lower mileage group during the study period.
Coronary heart disease or CHD caused 476,124 deaths in 1996. See this CHD page.
3 hours per week of brisk walking decreased heart attacks by nearly 40 percent. 5 hours per week ladies cut their risk by over 50 percent. (According to analysis of the 72,488 women in the Nurses Health Study)
The higher your blood pressure is, the higher your risk of circulatory diseases. Use regular exercise and healthy eating to lower your risk from a slew of hypertension related ailments. High blood pressure increases your hearts workload.
No time for exercise? According to researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, 10 minutes of aerobic exercise will decrease blood pressure. 20-30 minutes would be better, but surely you can find 10 minutes to preserve your life. Morticians can't preserve your life; regular, modest amounts of exercise will delay your visit to the mortician!
Halt osteoporosis. According to the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, vol 12, 1997, women over the age of 50 who currently walk (or cycle outdoors) for more than 30 minutes a day are 20% less likely to develop dowager's hump as a result of osteoporosis.
A one percent increase in bone mass, or holding on to one more percent of your bone mass, decreases your fracture risk by 2 percent.
Trim your belly. Get rid of tummy fat. According to the International Journal of Obesity, vol 21, 1997, walking 4 or more hours a week reduced women's risk of gaining weight around their waists by 16%. Researchers tracked more than 44,000 women for 10 years.
According to JAMA October 27, 1999, about 300,000 people per year die in the United States from obesity. Fat kills in concert with some of the above diseases.
According to a researchers at the University of Pittsburgh, people with a lot of abdominal fat are more likely to have hardened arteries, and suffer from cardiovascular disease. Apples are good for you but don't become apple shaped. Fat kills skinny guys with an overhanging belly too. The best way to lose belly fat is to exercise more and to eat less. Crunches will tone the muscles, but burn very few calories.
Improve your eyesight. Glaucoma is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the US, and results from an increase in eye pressure. When sedentary people began a three times a week, brisk walking program-those with glaucoma reduced their eye pressure by 20%. People without glaucoma also experienced a 9% reduction in eye pressure. (American Academy of Ophthalmology's annual meeting, Oct 1997)
10. Exercise elevates mood and the enjoyment of time spent on this planet.
Regular exercise is an effective way to release tension and reduce anxiety. Exercise will use up some of those debilitative fight or flight chemicals. Reduce your stress levels but also release your muscle tension and your restlessness with exercise.
If you've been inactive for 40 plus years you can still gain mental acuity and increase your oxygen intake ability. Studies at University of Illinois with formerly sedentary 60-75 year olds showed just that. Late life exercising is better than no exercising.
Regular exercise also decreases breast cancer risk by 20 percent. According to the Archives of Internal Medicine, nurses who exercised more than 7 hours per week had 20 percent less breast cancer than nurses who did less than one hour of vigorous exercise. Sustained walking is sufficient. The 100 feet from nursing station to patient does not qualify as aerobic exercise.
According to research at the Cooper Institute for Aerobics, in Dallas, unfit men are 80 percent more likely to die of cancer than fit men. Obese? You guessed it. You're more likely to die from cancer, especially colon, rectum, prostate, kidney and for the ladies, endometrium and breast cancer.
Aerobic exercise reduces chronic headaches by reducing stress, increasing your endorphins, (a natural analgesic), and by decreasing insomnia.
Regular aerobic exercise such as running improves the quality of your sleep and decreases the time that it takes to fall asleep. Both make you more productive and content during your active hours.
to exercise regularly; to exercise at a brisk pace; and to exercise for about forty minutes at a time. Start walking or another gentle (at first) exercise today. Build slowly to 40 minutes, 3-5 times per week to decrease your death risk from heart attacks, stroke and many other ailments, while increasing your overall health.
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