published Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Pierce: Seven reasons to walk for exercise at Riverbend

If you're heading to Riverbend this weekend, why not hook a pedometer on your waistband and count your steps from the car to the riverfront, along Riverfront Parkway and back to the car.

You could easily log a mile or more each night.

It's so much easier to get in exercise when it's part of a pleasurable activity -- such as socializing at Riverbend -- instead of a forced requirement.

Here are seven reasons that should make you want to get up off the couch and go walk, compiled from various websites.

1. Walking cuts the risk of diabetes. Research shows a link between brisk walking to a significant risk reduction for developing Type 2 diabetes, according to Rodale News.

Using insulin resistance as a predictor of the disease, the study found that people with a family history of diabetes who walked or did some type of moderate activity on a routine basis improved insulin sensitivity.

2. It can rev up your sex life. Well, who needs the other six reasons?

In a study of women ages 45-55, those who exercised, including brisk walking, reported greater sexual desire and satisfaction.

3. It's cheaper than a gym membership. The tight economy has everyone looking for ways to cut back. No matter where you live, there is somewhere you can pound the pavement. A San Diego State University study says to aim for 1,000 steps in 10 minutes.

4. It can get you off medications. A National Walkers Health Study of 40,000 men and women found that those who took long weekly walks were more likely to use less medication.

5. It could help you beat breast cancer. A study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that women who walked regularly after a diagnosis of breast cancer had a 45 percent greater chance of survival than those who were inactive.

Yale researchers heading up that study also found that women who had exercised in the year before being diagnosed were 30 percent more likely to survive compared to women who hadn't.

6. It reduces stroke risk. University of South Carolina researchers found that walking briskly for just 30 minutes five days a week could significantly lower the risk of stroke.

7. It could delay dementia. Here's one that especially hits home with me after watching my precious daddy slowly forget who I was, and then who he was, as he succumbed to the fog of dementia.

In a study done in Italy, researchers took 750 people suffering from memory problems and began measuring their walking/daily exercise.

After four years, those who had walked the most had a 27 percent lower risk of dementia than the people who had walked the least. The successes were attributed to the physical activity's role in increasing blood flow to the brain.

about Susan Pierce...

Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...

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