Hi guys,  Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo. Today Justin, one of our trainers, will be outlining for you the reason to “get your steps in”.  You’ve probably heard that phrase around the office. Something like, “oh I gotta go do a lap at lunch; I have to get my steps in.”  We’ll be looking at why those extra steps are important for your health. If you have questions about this or would like some creative ways to get that step count rolling, give us a call: 806-322-3188.

Unless we are sick or injured, all us walk everyday.  We learn to walk before most of us hit 12 months of age, so why do we hit a wall when we view walking as “exercise”? Well, people are lazy.  Sometimes that laziness can overwhelm our thoughts and keep us from seeing the benefit of an activity. As a personal trainer in Amarillo I’ve heard many of my friends complain when it comes to tying up their laces and heading out around the block. Did you know that walking  can help boost your exercise routine, mood, weight loss, and stress reduction? Studies show that adding 150 minutes of walking to your routine each week can increase your lifespan by about 3 to 4 years.  I’ve got 10 reasons for you to walk more everyday. I’ll also show you how to make it a little more enjoyable and challenging

First of all, studies show that normal weight, average adults with a standard diet (not anywhere close to an actual nutrition plan) are able to maintain their weight over time easily.  The studies were based on an hour of moderate paced walking.  If we are trying to lose weight or maintain a goal weight we have reached then we are more likely to succeed if we walk everyday and couple it with resistance training and a customized nutrition plans. We can make this more enjoyable by taking a two legged or four legged friend with you.

Secondly, walking can help our hearts and our entire circulatory system by lowering the blood pressure!  Studies have found that 30 minutes of moderately paced walking was just as effective as jogging at lowering our risk of high blood pressure.  HIgh Blood pressure can lead to a slew of symptoms including severe headache and severe anxiety.  Hypertension (High BP) is a “silent killer” meaning there are typically no symptoms until a crisis situation occurs.  If you find it difficult to find 30 full minutes to walk everyday, then split it up.  Although this won’t be as effective for weight loss, it can still benefit your heart health.

Third, walking will help cerebral blood flow, vascular health, and protect against dementia.  Dementia is the cognitive loss that often comes with old age.  Brain scans done on seniors showed that walking 6 miles a week lead to significantly less brain atrophy. Most of us want our waist shrinking not our brains. One of the best ways to combat the onset and advancement of Alzheimer’s is regular exercise. The regular exercise includes a good walking program. Even if that’s all the exercise you can do, take the walk.  Listening to upbeat music while on these walks can help increase the pace, endurance, and enjoyment.

Fourth reason to walk regularly is to help prevent osteoarthritis.  Osteoarthritis is a bone thinning disease that causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.  Walking is an excellent form of weight bearing activity, which can help prevent this disease.  It also is one of the best and easiest ways to keep our knee joints healthy.  We have a fluid produced in our joints when walking or using our knees that lubricates the joint to help it function.  Rewarding yourself for starting and sticking to a new exercise or walking routine can be a good way to motivate yourself after beginning a new habit.

The fifth reason is to help reduce our chances of some cancers.  Some research has uncovered that women who walked 7 miles or more a week had a 14 percent less chance of developing breast cancer.  Another study shows similar results for men and prostate cancer.  These diseases are obviously prevalent in our society and if we can reduce our chances with just a few brisk walks a week, we should take that into consideration.

Our reason number six is preventing or controlling diabetes.  Diabetes is the resistance to insulin or lack of insulin production and continuing to have a high blood sugar.  A 30 minute walk can reduce our blood sugar naturally for 24 hours.  Reducing body weight and body fat with increased muscle mass can delay or completely prevent the onset of weight related diabetes.  One of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight is by adding a brisk walk to your routine! If we are getting tired of the same old paths try a new park or street.  The Palo Duro Canyon has some great trails if you don’t mind a little clay on your shoes.

Walking has been found to lower our heart disease risk is our seventh reason.  Walking may help lower your cholesterol levels and while doing this lead to less chance of a major cardiac event or stroke.  Challenging yourself to walk more steps during our day can make the number one killer in America less of a risk for us.

The eight reason to include walking in your exercise program is to boost your mood and can help treat depression.  Research cites that adults with diagnosed depression who started walking regularly for 30-45 minutes a day showed significant reduction in their symptoms when medication alone did not help.  Also to help increase the benefits of the walking during a depressive episode, try walking outside if weather permits.  The extra boost of Vitamin D and sunlight will markedly improve your mood.

Reason number nine is to help reduce pain levels.  To a lot of us this sounds backwards but according to research, arthritis patients that walked over 6000 steps per day were less likely to develop a debilitating disability due to their condition.  There are also some studies that link walking with improved mobility and less pain in patients with peripheral artery disease. These diseases can occur with severe pain and fatigue in the legs while walking. However, if we find and keep a good walking routine we can reduce our pain from these clogged arteries.

Our last reason to commit to walking everyday is the reduced risk for stroke.  We have seen through many studies that walking reduces risk of heart disease and stroke.  Strokes are the loss of blood flow to any part of the brain. During this loss of blood flow, the parts of the brain affected actually die and can not be recovered or rebuilt.  

We can relearn to do things but we never get that part of our brian back. Walking reduces or blood pressure therefore reduces the likeliness of a stroke.

There you have it, ten reasons to get your steps in. If you have any questions about how to up your weekly activity, no matter the reason you choose, reach out to our team at: info@customfitness.biz or 806-322-3188. We offer personal training, nutrition counseling, and lifestyle modification services. Mention this blog and we’d love to have you come in for a complimentary consultation where we can find out more about each other and see if we are a good fit. At Custom Fitness we are YOUR personal trainers in Amarillo, Texas. Happy step counting.