We have been walking all of our lives but no one has ever handed us an instruction booklet to demonstration the width, the correct stance, the gait etc. How we stand, sit or walk can impact how we think and feel. It can also contribute to wear and tear and potentially lead to injuries due to imbalances in the body. We know dropping the head forward has been proven to change our mood and our breathing and now we know that how we walk and stand also impacts our self esteem and may contribute to pain in the body. An example of improper technique is, Instead of using the muscles to support the body often we rest on our hip bones or lock the knees or walk with the head facing down.
The Harvard Medical School recently published an interesting article on some new, and lesser known, benefits of walking. "This simple activity that you've been doing since you were about a year old is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug," says Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. Here's a list of five proven benefits that may surprise you:
1. Walking counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.
2. Walking helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.
3. Walking reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.
4. Walking eases joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints — especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis — by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
5. Walking boosts immune function. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder. Well Body and Spirit offer public and corporate walking courses and workshops. The take home techniques are simple, effective and life changing. Contact us to enquire about attending one of our public events or scheduling your own event with a group or arrange a corporate event.