The most common excuse we give ourselves to not exercise is lack of time. But the fact is that you don’t need to take out a lot of time to stay healthy. Just 15 minutes a day can work wonders.
Regular exercise is prescribed for good physical, mental and emotional health. If exercise seems like a lot of work for you then you will find a friend in a regular 15 minute walk. Bring back physical activity to your life by introducing walking into your daily routine and then move onto easy exercises once you get used to being more active.
Simple walking can offer huge benefits to your general health. From helping you burn fat, improve cholesterol levels and strengthen bones to controlling your blood pressure and lowering your risk for various chronic diseases, this is one of the easiest things you can do for your health.
Latest research shows that a 15-minute walk a day could also extend your life expectancy by up to 7 years. So if you feel that you don’t have enough time to exercise in the morning, make sure you use your lunch break to walk for 15 minutes. If that doesn’t work find some time to do it after dinner.
Here are 5 ways that a 15 minute walk can affect your health:
Decreases the Risk of Heart Disease
Walking is most beneficial for the heart as it improves blood pressure, regulates blood sugar, and lowers cholesterol, all of which are risk factors of heart disease.
Your heart is a very strong muscle with fibers that contract and pump blood as it beats. During exercise, heart muscles become more efficient and give more oxygen and nutrients to your other organs.
A heart-pumping walking routine done regularly can have profound effects on overall health as your body receives more oxygen and nutrients. A study showed that moderate-intensity walking was just as effective as jogging at lowering risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.
The best way to relieve stress is a great workout. But the simplest way to turn that frown upside down can be as easy as a walk in the park. Any physical activity releases endorphins in the brain which are your "feel-good" hormones. Endorphins are chemicals that lift your mood, make you feel good and provide an overall sense of happiness.
Cortisol is another hormone that is released in your body when you are experiencing stress. A walk in the park can make your body absorb cortisol, which gives you euphoria and reduction in anxiety.
Another happy hormone released by exercise or walking is serotonin. Serotonin makes you feel happy and also is partly responsible for good sleep. A relaxed mood helps you to be positive towards life and make better decisions.
Daily physical activity for at least 15- 20 minutes can also boost your immune system. Walking reduces stress, improves blood circulation and frees your mind for meditation and contemplation. All of these factors give a natural boost to immunity, helping your body fight diseases of all kinds. Walking can even help you age gracefully. Infact, older women who walk or exercise experience fewer menopause related symptoms.
A latest research shows that exercise might be the most effective way to keep the common cold at bay. Taking a moderately-paced walk daily was found to improve the amount of immune system cells that were present in the body.
Helps You Lose Weight
The sole reason why most people turn to exercise is to help them lose weight. A good workout routine is bound to help you shed those extra pounds, but what's surprising is how many calories you can burn by just walking briskly for 15 minutes. On average, you burn at least 50-60 calories for every 15 minutes of brisk walking.
Researchers at Harvard University conducted a study with 34,000 normal-weight women for more than 13 years. They concluded that women who ate a standard diet and did physical activity such as walking for an hour a day were able to successfully maintain their weight.
Another study from the University of Exeter showed that a 15-minute walk can suppress cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of sugary products you consume when stressed out.
Ask a friend, neighbour or a four-legged pal to walk with you so that you have each other to motivate and encourage.
Reduces The Risk Of Cancer
Walking can also decrease the chance of developing many kinds of cancers. Any kind of physical activity has a profound effect on hormones in your body, including estrogen and insulin.
In women, physical activity brings down the level of estrogen. Estrogen is known to be a cause of development of many breast and reproductive system cancers, so lowering the level of this hormone can help in reducing the risk.
A study published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention showed that women who walked up to an hour everyday were 14 percent less likely to develop breast cancer.
Another study conducted at the University of California, and Harvard University showed that men who were treated for prostate cancer and who walked actively for at least three hours a week lowered their risk of a recurrence.
Many health practitioners suggest that being active can help patients during and following cancer treatment. If you are suffering from cancer and want to be more active, consider simple walking and discuss with your doctor.
About the Author: Lisa Brown has been helping her readers in successful business and entrepreneurial strategies for the past 3 years. She currently works with Ekuep (http://www.ekuep.com/en/), which is the first online store in the Middle East that caters to the foodservice industry. It sells kitchen equipment, restaurant equipment, and food service equipment that are made by leading brands from all over the world. These machines and tools are trusted by all restaurant and cafe owners from across the world.