Step It Up
by Miranda Zamora-Williams, MS, ATC
Did you know even a short walk can have major benefits for your health? With busy holiday schedules, big celebrations, and even bigger meals seemingly every weekend to close out the year, walking after meals can be an excellent way to fit in frequent low-intensity exercise. There are multiple advantages to getting more overall physical activity and less sitting throughout the day but, here’s a few surprising benefits of walking.
2-5 minutes of walking after eating can decrease spikes in blood sugar and insulin levels. Reducing these spikes can decrease risk for type 2 diabetes and overall mortality. Keep in mind this is a short walk! If you’re at work, a walk through the floor of your office building or perhaps to your car and back will fit the bill! Fitting in a short walk after each meal throughout the day can be a great goal.
A LENGTHIER JAUNT
Have a little bit more time to spend on your walk? If you increase that walk to 10-30 minutes per day health outcomes improve. At 30 minutes total per day there are decreases in blood pressure for those with prehypertension. These walks can also be broken up into shorter bouts to fit into busy schedules. 30 minutes per day may seem like a lot, but when broken up between short post-meal walks, movement at work, choosing to take the stairs rather than the elevator, and parking a little farther away in the parking lot, you’ll be surprised at how quickly it can add up!
Did you know even 20 minutes of walking per day is associated with less sick days and decreased sickness severity?
GO THE DISTANCE. GO FOR SPEED.
10,000 steps a day have often been associated with a decrease in risk of heart disease, dementia, and cancer. But these same benefits start at just 2,000 steps per day and increase with every additional 2,000 steps. Picking up the pace to about 80-112 steps per minute for a brisk walk can also make a significant impact on these benefits. Even short bursts in pace can benefit you.
Miranda Zamora-Williams, MS, ATC || Miranda received a B.S. in Athletic Training from the University of New Mexico and a M.S. in Kinesiology and Health from the University of Wyoming and is currently pursuing her doctorate in Athletic Training at A.T. Still University. Her professional interests include heat illness, rehab, and wildland firefighter health.
Be sure to check out our other blogs for further injury prevention education and tips from Work Right NW!