Are you having trouble losing weight and committing to a healthy lifestyle? It may be easier than you think!
“We must not underestimate how important physical activity is for health—even modest amounts can add years to our life. “ I-Min Lee, M. D. and Harvard Medical School
A recent study by the National Institute of Health and by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found that 75 minutes of brisk walking per week added on average 1.5 years of life expectancy and slightly over an hour of brisk walking each day added 4.5 years to life expectancy. This was when compared to a sedentary life style with little physical activity.
In 2013 the American Heart Association suggested that walking may be even better than running. When 33,000 runners and 15,000 walkers were studied over a six year period the walkers scored even better on blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease tests than runners.
Research rates sedentary or inactive life styles as one of the top ten causes of death. Inactivity also may also lead to obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, colon cancer, high blood pressure and a host of other problems. About 59% of us lead sedentary life styles and only about 14% of us are diligent about exercise. With all the evidence on the benefits of exercise we wondered, why do we lack motivation?
One factor is that even with huge long term rewards, it is hard to immediately measure the benefits of walking. It is more rewarding to collapse in front of the TV or play on the computer than to go out for a brisk walk after a hard day. But research indicates walking can potentially add seven or more years to our lives. How do we motivate ourselves?
One important motivator is attitude. How do we think of ourselves? Do we think of ourselves as healthy and physically fit? One technique involves using our imagination. Imagining ourselves walking or running and feeling energetic and healthy helps us want to exercise and be healthy.
Factoring in things we enjoy brings more immediate reward. We have a favorite summer evening trail, where we are entertained by frogs from a nearby swamp. Do we like to read, or listen to music or audiobooks? Do we like to exercise with others? Do we like to walk and mull over our day?
Finally, exercise needs a schedule. We all know the early risers who complete by dawn’s early light what we are still procrastinating at dusk. The good news is that it is just as healthy to walk in the evenings, at lunch, or at midnight. Scheduling exercise into a routine soon becomes habit and luckily habits are hard to break.
All the research on the positive impact of walking keeps us focused. Finding ways to enjoy it keeps us motivated. For more information on getting motivated and creating a healthy lifestyle, contact Answer is Fitness in North Attleboro.
Excerpts - Raleigh Telegram
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