The simple fact is, if you live in a walkable community, one that has some where to walk to, you are more apt to get out and do it. This motivation over time will lead to a better quality of life, better health and is fun.
This is becoming more and more important as our hectic lives, modern conveniences and electronic age reduce our our activity levels significantly. This has led to increasingly sedentary lifestyles for more and more people. In fact the percentage of adults who spend MOST of their day sitting increased from 36.8% in 2000 to 39.9% in 2005. This inactivity is now the second leading cause of preventable death in the United States, second only to tobacco use. Walking is considered by many fitness professional as a way to supplement or begin an exercise program, add to quality of life and reduce stress. Medicinenet.com created an important list of 10 reasons we should all walk get out and walk more:
1. Walking prevents type 2 diabetes. The Diabetes Prevention Program showed that walking 150 minutes per week and losing just 7% of your body weight (12-15 pounds) can reduce your risk of diabetes by 58%.
2. Walking strengthens your heart if you're male. In one study, mortality rates among retired men who walked less than one mile per day were nearly twice that among those who walked more than two miles per day.
3. Walking strengthens your heart if you're female. Women in the Nurse's Health Study (72,488 female nurses) who walked three hours or more per week reduced their risk of a heart attack or other coronary event by 35% compared with women who did not walk.
4. Walking is good for your brain. In a study on walking and cognitive function, researchers found that women who walked the equivalent of an easy pace at least 1.5 hours per week had significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline than women who walked less than 40 minutes per week. Think about that!
5. Walking is good for your bones. Research shows that postmenopausal women who walk approximately one mile each day have higher whole-body bone density than women who walk shorter distances, and walking is also effective in slowing the rate of bone loss from the legs.
6. Walking helps alleviate symptoms of depression. Walking for 30 minutes, three to five times per week for 12 weeks reduced symptoms of depression as measured with a standard depression questionnaire by 47%.
7. Walking reduces the risk of breast and colon cancer. Women who performed the equivalent of one hour and 15 minutes to two and a half hours per week of brisk walking had an 18% decreased risk of breast cancer compared with inactive women. Many studies have shown that exercise can prevent colon cancer, and even if an individual person develops colon cancer, the benefits of exercise appear to continue both by increasing quality of life and reducing mortality.
8. Walking improves fitness. Walking just three times a week for 30 minutes can significantly increase cardiorespiratory fitness.
9. Walking in short bouts improves fitness, too! A study of sedentary women showed that short bouts of brisk walking (three 10-minute walks per day) resulted in similar improvements in fitness and were at least as effective in decreasing body fatness as long bouts (one 30-minute walk per day).
10. Walking improves physical function. Research shows that walking improves fitness and physical function and prevents physical disability in older persons.