By Anthony Sylvester, DPT, Manager of Physical Therapy at Tulsa Bone & Joint Owasso
Today, about half of all American adults—117 million people—have one or more preventable chronic diseases. Seven of the ten most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity. Yet nearly 80 percent of adults are not meeting the key guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity, while only about half meet the key guidelines for aerobic physical activity. This lack of physical activity is linked to approximately $117 billion in annual health care costs and about 10 percent of premature mortality.
With New Years around the corner and dreams of a post-COVID life, it’s a good time to think about what your exercise strategy will be for 2021. We tend to set unreachable goals that set us up for failure in February.
This year, why not try walking? It’s the exercise our bodies are designed for. Research shows that among people who start fitness programs, walkers have the greatest percentage of long-term success with continual participation.
Walking is a powerful asset to have in our healthcare toolbox. The benefits are very impressive.
Benefits of Walking Include:
- Reduced risk of cancer
- Brain health benefits, including possible improved cognitive function, reduced anxiety and depression risk, and improved sleep and quality of life.
- For pregnant women, reduced risk of excessive weight gain, gestational diabetes, and postpartum depression.
- For older adults, reduced risk of fall-related injuries.
- For people with various chronic medical conditions, reduced risk of all-cause and disease-specific mortality, improved physical function and improved quality of life.
- “100 reasons to walk” https://walkwithadoc.org/join-a-walk/why-walk/100-reasons/
The research is conclusive. So get a good pair of shoes, grab a friend, or buy a dog and a leash and hit the sidewalk! You’ll be on your way to a healthy 2021 for sure.