To amend the old adage — a walk a day may keep the doctor away.
New research presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology annual meeting found that walking for 30 minutes a day and doing some yoga showed promising results in some cancer patients. The Guardian said these physical activities were found to reduce fatigue and reduce the risk of cancer spreading.
One of the potential reasons yoga had this impact on patients has to do with inflammation. The Guardian said inflammation can increase the risk of tumors spreading in the body and yoga reduces inflammation.
One of the main conclusions of the research was exercise has a positive impact on longevity of life for patients. The Guardian said, “The results showed the risk of death was higher in those with a sedentary lifestyle. After 180 days, 90% of people in the active group were still alive, compared with 74% in the sedentary group.”
Both walking and yoga have other benefits. Here a look into how walking and yoga can be preventative medicine.
What does walking do to your body?
Walking can be a simple way to get aerobic exercise and help a person maintain a healthy and active lifestyle.
Some of the benefits of walking, according to Mayo Clinic, include losing body fat, a positive impact on balance, mood and sleep, stress reduction, preventing some conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, and increased muscle endurance.
There are other benefits of walking that Harvard Health Publishing described as surprising. The five surprising benefits Harvard listed were that walking “counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes,” reduces chocolate cravings, reduces risk of breast cancer, improves joint function and contributes positively to immunity.
Walking can be an alternative exercise to running. NBC News said, “When comparing the results of the most recent National Runners’ Health Study with the National Walkers’ Health Study, researchers found that the energy used for moderate-intensity walking and vigorous-intensity running resulted in similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease over the study’s six year period.”
In addition to physical health benefits, walking also has positive mental health effects. NBC News said some of these positive impacts include improved memory function, more creative thinking, anxiety and depression reduction, increase in attentiveness and decrease in “ruminating over negative experiences.”
How long should I walk every day?
The National Health Services in the U.K. recommends 150 minutes of exercise each week and said a 10-minute walk every day will bring positive health benefits. To hit 150 minutes of exercise a week, walking around 21-22 minutes every day will help a person achieve that goal.
There’s been some debate over the exact number of steps to walk every day — some numbers researchers suggest are 8,000 steps or 10,000 steps a day, per Insider. Researchers found that 7,500 steps a day may be the amount of steps needed to receive the maximum benefit of reduced mortality.
For weight loss, walking 10,000 steps may be more beneficial than walking 3,500 steps, since walking longer would burn more calories, according to Insider.
How to start walking more
- Get a pair of comfortable shoes. Shoes that are ideal for walking may make walking more enjoyable than wearing shoes that make it difficult to walk.
- Select a consistent time each day to walk. Whether it’s in the morning upon waking up or if it’s on a lunch break during work, walking every day at the same time can be a way to get in the routine of walking.
- Listen to music or a podcast. It’s important to pay attention to traffic and traffic signs, especially while wearing headphones. Listening to music or a podcast can be a way to start walking. If you’re walking inside on a treadmill, you could also consider watching a show — while still paying attention to your own safety — and it can be a way to look forward to walking every day.
- Get an accountability partner. Walking every day with a friend or being accountable to a friend can help you stick to your walking schedule and goals. Your accountability buddy can also be your dog — most dogs need to go for walks every day and so your dog can help you go for walks, too.
- Create a walkable life. Instead of getting in the car to go to the store to pick up a couple items, if you can walk there, consider doing that. If you’re going to meet up with friends at a restaurant, try walking there. Find different ways to walk to where you need to go — it’s good for you and good for the planet.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a way of moving which some consider a spiritual and meditative practice as well. According to Medical News Today, “Yoga is an ancient practice that may have originated in India. It involves movement, meditation and breathing techniques to promote mental and physical well-being.”
When is International Yoga Day?
Wednesday is International Yoga Day. Every year, it’s celebrated on June 21.
Why is International Yoga Day celebrated?
The United Nations General Assembly declared the beginning of International Yoga Day in December 2014, according to the U.N. website. It’s a day that celebrates the practice of yoga, and was first celebrated in 2015.
According to the resolution for International Yoga Day, the day recognizes the holistic nature of yoga and how people across the world could benefit from yoga. The day also invites countries to celebrate the practice of yoga on June 21.
What are some benefits of yoga?
Yoga is known for its mental health benefits and is associated with meditation and mindfulness. There are also some positive physical health benefits a person can experience by regularly doing yoga. The American Osteopathic Association said some of the benefits of yoga are losing weight, an improved ability to breath, increased cardio health and reduction in lower blood pressure and chronic pain.
There are other benefits of yoga, like stress management and improved heart health. Johns Hopkins Medicine said, “Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits for people of all ages. And, if you’re going through an illness, recovering from surgery or living with a chronic condition, yoga can become an integral part of your treatment and potentially hasten healing.”
Some other benefits that Harvard Health Publishing listed are a higher satisfaction with body image, increased mindfulness and a positive impact on a person’s overall fitness abilities. Harvard Health Publishing said, “Researchers studied a small group of sedentary individuals who had not practiced yoga before. After eight weeks of practicing yoga at least twice a week for a total of 180 minutes, participants had greater muscle strength and endurance, flexibility and cardio-respiratory fitness.”
Some doctors are prescribing yoga to their patients, per the Deseret News. It’s helped patients gain strength and reduce their pain, which they previously thought may have to be resolved via surgery.