Friday, February 3, 2012

Guest Post by Heather on Walking

Outdoor recreation often comprises several kinds of activity. Bird watching, for example, may involve walking, interpreting sounds and visual clues, and socializing with fellow birdwatchers; each of these has its wellness implications. Walking is a common denominator for most forms of outdoor recreation. Brisk walking for just three hours a week or half an hour each day is associated with a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of heart disease in women (AARP 2008, citing the 20-Year Nurses’ Health Study).

Walking has been shown to have many health benefits:
  • managing weight;
  • controlling blood pressure;
  • decreasing risk of heart attack;
  • boosting ―good cholesterol;
  • lowering risk of stroke;
  • reducing risk of breast cancer and Type 2 diabetes;
  • avoiding need for gallstone surgery;
  •  protecting against hip fracture;
  • preventing depression, colon cancer, constipation, osteoporosis, and impotence;
  •  lengthening lifespan;
  • lowering stress levels;
  • relieving arthritis and back pain;
  • strengthening muscles, bones, and joints;
  • improving sleep; and
  • elevating overall mood and sense of well-being.

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