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The benefits of walking include disease prevention and protecting your pocket book

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I attended a Memory Wellness program this week.  The conversation was about the benefits of programs for Alzheimer’s patients.  I’ll write more about that next week.  However, one of the things that really stood out for me was how much of an improvement researchers found in Alzheimer’s patients when they participated in an exercise program, particularly when the exercise included walking. 

Research Professor and Licensed Psychologist, Rebecca G. Logsdon spoke to a room of nurses, senior care providers and other professionals in the aging field about a specialized dementia day program.  One of the things Logsdon was enthusiastic about was the changes in behavior and attitude amongst individuals who began a walking regime.  For individual with dementia, there was a statistical variance in disruptive behaviors for individuals who participated in exercise programs.  For the caregivers, there was a statistical decrease in the level of stress and the caregivers self-assessed level of depression.  But, you don’t have to have Alzheimer’s disease to find benefits from walking and exercising so I thought that I would cover a few here.

Walking prevents diabetes:  The American Diabetes Association estimates that 26.9 percent of individuals 65 and over have diabetes.  Diagnosed diabetes costs Americans $245 billion a year.  According to one study, more than one in ten health care dollars is spent directly on diabetes and its complications and more than one in five is spent on caring for people with diabetes.  Most of those costs are paid for by government insurance coverage such as VA, Medicare and Medicaid.  There are many benefits to walking as a form of exercise:

  • You probably already have the equipment you need to get started.
  • You probably already have the skill level necessary to make it useful.
  • You can do it with others including those older than you and those much younger than you.
  • You can usually avoid getting hurt while doing it (some people can get hurt regardless of the situation).
  • You can do it just about anywhere.
  • It improves blood pressure, cholesterol, stress and depression.

Walking energizes your sex life:  According to the Mayo Clinic, men who exercise regularly have fewer problems with erectile dysfunction, and women can experience enhanced arousal.

Walking lessen the impact of chronic pain:  Individuals with fibromyalgia reported significant improvements in walking and mental capacity and were less tired and depressed according to a 2007 study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Walking helps beat breast cancer, dementia and other diseases:  Walkers who get diagnosed with breast cancer and individuals who begin walking programs after being diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher rate of successfully beating the cancer according to a study.

Studies have shown that vascular health is a major component to memory wellness.  While we don’t have a cure for Alzheimer’s we do know that issues such as stroke, heart attack and high blood pressure increase your risk for Alzheimer’s.

Your health is your greatest asset.  Protect your health and you’ll retire with enough money to enjoy life and do the things you dream of doing.  Perhaps just as importantly, if everyone in this country took it upon themselves to protect their health, we could eliminate our national debt.  Without taking those precautions though, you’re increasing your likelihood of paying for uncovered medical costs and becoming a burden on your children.

Please see a doctor before starting any exercise program.



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