Exercise Is Key: A Tribute to Our Military!

My Dad: Christian Van Den Heuvel
My Dad: Christian Van Den Heuvel

The health benefits of exercise is a well known fact including its importance in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. It is also critical for our military who is tasked with maintaining the safety of our country as well as others. This article is a tribute to our military — THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!

Army Medicine
Army Medicine

With the time constraints we are all faced with in our busy lives, more than one looming question remains: 1) What type of exercise do I need to do to make a difference? and 2) How much time do I need to spend exercising?

In the United States, the average adult takes 5,117 steps per day. While that may sound significant, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, that number must be doubled to be considered physically active.

Taking a hike
Taking a hike

Walking has been found to decrease your risk of heart disease, raise the “good” HDL cholesterol levels, balance stress hormones, and help improve both blood sugar and blood pressure. Moreover, research in the journal of Neurology (Oct. 19, 2010 issue) found that walking can improve brain function and decrease a person’s risk in developing memory problems. According to the study’s lead author, Kirk I. Ericsson, Ph.D., “It appears there are some fairly rapid cognitive benefits, so starting to exercise in late age isn’t futile.”

On a Hike
On a Hike

Try to add 20 to 25 minutes of walking to your daily routine for an initial goal. Even if you are already active, that’s a good plan. You’ll add approximately 2000 steps per day which is about a mile, and burn typically 100 calories. This is enough exercise to prevent the average yearly weight gain of 1 to 2 pounds. If this seems too taxing, start with just 10 minutes of daily walking and build from there. Even that amount can be a life-saver. According to David R. Bassett, Jr., Ph.D., a director of the Obesity Research Center at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, research has found that women who walk just an hour a week are more likely to live longer when they are compared with their less-active peers.

Exercise Is Key
Exercise Is Key

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh found that the injury rates for overweight and obese people in walking programs were comparable to the rates for overweight and obese people who were sedentary. Just make sure that you see your doctor before you increase your activity. Also, invest in a good pair of walking shoes.

I watched a neighbor take control of her life, and her weight. She walked. She started her day walking her dogs, took her break walking, and ended her day walking. Less than one year later, she walked off 100 pounds. That is dedication. That is the power of walking.

How about you? What has walking done for you? Do you know someone in the military that you would like to pay tribute to?

TIP: Use an app. Research has shown they make a difference.

(C) 2016 Karen Van Den Heuvel Fischer

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