gmhTODAY 16 gmhToday Sept Oct 2017 - Page 106

Health Wise with Crystal Han Walking Towards a Longer Life When we took our first steps as toddlers it was celebrated as a big accomplishment. And rightly so. Walking upright is what separates us from all of the other animals. It is one of the main reasons we have advanced so much as a species. Despite that, today walking is viewed as a major inconvenience. We seem to be determined to walk as little as possible, which is regrettable considering walking has the power to extend our lives by as much as seven years. Any form of regular exercise comes with benefits such as lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and easing mental stress, but walking is the easiest way to get these benefits. A broad collection of research on participants over the course of eleven years revealed that walking reduced the risk of dying of cardiovascular events by 31 percent and that it cut the risk of dying during the study period by 32 percent. Just walking five and a half miles per week at a pace as casual as two miles per hour was shown to have these positive effects for both men and women. Though, the people who walked for longer distances or had a faster pace, or both, were shown to have the greatest level of protection. As if that wasn’t enough, there are a number of health benefits that come primarily from walking. For starters, it counteracts the effects of obesitycausing genes. A study that tracked over twelve thousand people found that the effects of these genes were halved in participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day. Walking also promotes a healthy weight by reducing sugar cravings and the amount of sugary or fatty foods we consume. In addition, walking can reduce arthritis related pain and walking five to six miles a week has even been shown to prevent the formation of arthritis altogether. This is because it lubricates our joints, especially our knees and hips, and strengthens the muscles that support them. In women specifically, walking seven or more hours a week was shown to have a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who walked for less time, even if those women had breast cancer risk factors such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones. People who walk regularly are also less likely to get sick, and if they do get sick, their symptoms are milder and they often recover quicker. Interestingly, walking can not only extend our lives, it can predict health problems. Although it may seem like a simple task, walking requires the circulatory, respiratory, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems to all work in harmony. When a person’s gait speed starts to slow, it can be a sign that one of these systems isn’t functioning properly. Doctors have been using gait speed to assess how long individuals over the age of 75 are likely to maintain their independence and a high level of function. There are even some studies that show an improvement in pace led to improved health over time. But before you start speeding up your walks, it’s important to note that gait speed alone isn’t a guaranteed way to promote longevity. There is a broad spectrum of bodily systems that work to keep us going, and while gait speed can be an indicator that something’s wrong, it doesn’t tell you everything. Rather, it should be treated as a measuring stick for vitality. Perhaps the greatest thing about walking is that you can reap its benefits at any age. Even people who started walking at the age of seventy were shown to be less likely to develop health problems. So it’s really never too late to start being active. Of course, if you haven’t been physically active in a while, it’s best to start slow. Start with a goal of five to ten minutes a day, and add another five minutes to your time each week until you reach thirty minutes or above. If you’re not overly jazzed about walking, there are many ways to make it fun and enjoyable. You could try listening to music or podcasts while you walk, or if you don’t like walking alone you could ask a friend or a neighbor to join you. If you have a hard time motivating yourself, having a cute animal, like a dog, depending on you might be just the thing you need to get you out the door. And if you don’t have a dog, this might be the perfect excuse to get one! About 80 percent of hospital admissions are the result of bad health habits associated with a sedentary lifestyle. Don’t let yourself fall into this statistic. It’s time to give walking the respect it deserves and take that first step towards better health and longevity. After all, it’s a lot better than a mountain of doctor bills! Learn More Harvard Health Publications, 5 Surprising Benefits of Walking,health.harvard. edu Simon, Stacy, Study Shows Walking an Hour a Day Achieves Greatest Longevity Benefit, American Cancer Society. org Harmon, Katherine, Walking Speed Predicts Life Expectancy of Older Adults, Scientific American.com CRYSTAL HAN is a freelance writer and artist. She graduated from San José State University with a BFA in Animation/ Illustration and is an aspiring novelist, currently working on two books. 106 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2017 gmhtoday.com Health Wise with Crystal Han Walking Towards a Longer Life W hen we took our first steps as toddlers it was celebrated as a big accomplishment. And rightly so. Walking upright is what separates us from all of the other animals. It is one of the main reasons we have advanced so much as a species. Despite that, today walking is viewed as a major inconvenience. We seem to be determined to walk as little as possible, which is regrettable considering walking has the power to extend our lives by as much as seven years. Any form of regular exercise comes with benefits such as lowering choles- terol, blood pressure, reducing inflam- mation, and easing mental stress, but walking is the easiest way to get these benefits. A broad collection of research on participants over the course of eleven years revealed that walking reduced the risk of dying of cardiovascular events by 31 percent and that it cut the risk of dying during the study period by 32 percent. Just walking five and a half miles per week at a pace as casual as two miles per hour was shown to have these positive effects for both men and women. Though, the people who walked for longer distances or had a faster pace, or both, were shown to have the greatest level of protection. As if that wasn’t enough, there are a number of health benefits that come primarily from walking. For starters, it counteracts the effects of obesity- causing genes. A study that tracked over twelve thousand people found that the effects of these genes were halved in participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day. Walking also promotes a healthy weight by reducing sugar cravings and the amount of sug- ary or fatty foods we consume. In addi- tion, walking can reduce arthritis related pain and walking five to six miles a week has even been shown to prevent the formation of arthritis altogether. 106 This is because it lubricates our joints, especially our knees and hips, and strengthens the muscles that support them. In women specifically, walking seven or more hours a week was shown to have a 14 percent lower \وX\[\[Y[[Y܈\[YK][YHY[YX\[\\XܜX\Z[ݙ\BZY܈\[\[Y[[ܛ[ۙ\˂[H[Y[\H\H[\›Z[H]X[Y^H]XZ\[\\\HZ[\[^Bٝ[Xݙ\]ZX\[\\[K[[[ۛB^[\]\][YXX[؛[\ˈ[Y]X^HY[BZHH[\H\[[\]Z\\H\[]ܞK\\]ܞK[][ ]\[\[\\\[\[ܚ[\[۞K[H\۸&\Z]YY\][HHYۈ]ۙHو\H\[\\۸&][[ۚ[œ\Kܜ]HY[\[Z]YY\\ۙ[]YX[›ݙ\HYHو H\HZ[HXZ[Z[Z\[\[[H[HY][ق[[ۋ\H\H][YHYY\][[\ݙ[Y[[XHY[\ݙYX[ݙ\[YK]YܙB[H\YY[\[\[]8&\š[\ܝ[H]Z]YY[ۙB\۸&]HX\[YY^H[HۋB]]K\H\HYX[Hق[H\[\]ܚY\\™[[[HZ]YY[H[[X]܈]Y][&\ܛۙ]\۸&][[H]\][ˈ]\][HX]Y\HYX\\[X™܈][]K\\HܙX]\[X][[\][H[X\][Y]˜][HYK][[H\Y[[]HYHو][H\BۈH\Z[H][X[؛[\ˈ]8&\X[H]\]B\Z[X]Kو\KY[B][&]Y[\X[HX]H[H[K]8&\\\ˈ\]H[SH8(SԑSS8(SPTSTSPTБT M›و]H[Z[]\H^K[Y[\]HZ[]\[\[YHXXYZ[[[HXX\HZ[]\›܈XݙKY[x&\Hݙ\H^YX][[\H\HX[H^\XZB][[[XXK[H[B\[[]\X܈\[H[B[܈Y[H۸&]ZH[[[ۙB[H[\HY[܈HZY܂[[KY[H]HH\[YB[]][[\[][H]B[[X[ ZHH\[[ۈ[BZYH\H[[HYY][H]H܋[Y[H۸&]]BH\ZYHH\X^\B]ۙHBX] \[و][YZ\[ۜ\HH\[وYX[X]\X]Y]HY[\HYKB[K۸&]][\[[[\œ]\Xˈ]8&\[YH]H[[B\X]\\\[ZH]\\\]\X[[ۙ]]KY\[ ]8&\H]\[H[[Z[و܈[BX\[ܙB\\X[XX][ۜ H\\B[[Y]و[[X[ \\ YB[[ۋXKYH[[[\H^HXY]\ܙX]\ۙ]B]H[Y] [Y\X[[\Y]Kܙ’\[ۋ]\[K[[YYYXYH^X[Hو\Y[Y[YX[Y\X[BԖTSS\BY[[Hܚ]\[\\ HܘYX]YH[H]B[]\]H]BH[[[X][ۋ’[\][ۈ[\[\\[ݙ[\ \[Hܚ[ۂ˂Z^K