A Fantastic Exercise for Both Weight Control and Mindful Relaxation

A Fantastic Exercise for Both Weight Control and Mindful Relaxation
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Natural Society

Pinpointing one exercise as the single best exercise is impossible. If you were to choose one single exercise and deem it best, you would be essentially condensing the entire field of exercise science. While many exercises are better than others, each exercise has it’s own benefits as well as downsides. But one thing is for sure, just about any exercise is better than no exercise. People often think that in order to gain any real benefits, they need to go to the gym everyday and workout as if training for an Olympic event. The great news is, there is one single exercise that you perform each day which harnesses incredible benefits you can utilize even more – walking.

Walking is a Simple Exercise for Weight Control

Walking, especially today with people spending much of their time sitting, can be extremely helpful for the body. A meta-analysis of of many studies on exercise and mortality showed someone living a sedentary lifestyle who starts brisk walking 5 times a week for 20 minutes cuts his chance of dying prematurely from any cause drops by 20 percent. Another 5 month long study involving thousands of Japanese citizens showed that 3 minutes of fast walking followed by 3 minutes of slower walking repeated 10 times had a noticeable impact. Maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength increased by 20 percent, and symptoms of lifestyle-related diseases such as hypertension, hyperglycemia, and obesity decreased by about 20 percent.

Another 15-year study showed that women who walked for one hour a day maintained their weight over the 15 years while those who didn’t walk gained weight. While it is obviously the simple addition of physical movement that caused the women to maintain there weight, it shows that just an hour of walking is enough for weight control. Walking has also been shown to increase the volume of the hippocampus in the brain for older individuals, leading to better memory retention.

The Benefits of Walking Are Both Physical and Mental

While walking may not hold much appeal for those who already exercise vigorously, that same lack of appeal is what often makes it so glamorous to others. The benefits of walking can go much further than physical benefits. Although walking is best utilized in a fast-slow motion for many benefits, it is one of the best exercises for great relaxation. Meditative walking can be extremely beneficial to reduce stress levels and therefore improve every aspect of your life. Try simply breathing in for four steps, pausing for one step, than breathing our for four steps. While doing this, look off far into the distance while observing and taking in the beautiful scenery you are choosing to focus on. Remember to relax and allow the energy to flow through your body. Walking through the woods, also known as forest bathing, can be especially soothing.

Additional Sources:

NYTimes