With summer in Edmonton hitting full swing, isn't it time you told your friends and family to "take a hike"? Not only is our fair city almost uniquely equipped to provide opportunities for hiking, the benefits of doing so are nothing short of immense. With that in mind, here are 15 big reasons why might want to take a hike yourself, from your friends at the Ryan Dutka team.
A BRISK WALK CAN DEFLECT DIABETES
New research links brisk walking to a significant risk reduction for developing type 2 diabetes. A recent British study found that people with a family history of the disease who walked briskly, on a routine basis, improved insulin sensitivity. Insulin resistance or lack of sensitivity is a predictor of this disease
IT SAVES YOU ON GYM COSTS
In this economy where restraint and austerity paint the picture of living inside a Dickens novel there is good news. Lucky us we live in Edmonton and can save on gym fees. Edmonton is famous for its extensive parkland and connecting trails. Edmonton's river valley is home to the longest stretch of connected urban parkland anywhere in North America. There are over ninety-seven kilometres of biking, hiking, skiing, walking and snow-shoeing trails.
HELPS PREVENT HEART ATTACKS and REDUCE BLOOD PRESSURE
150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity walking, can help manage stress reduce blood pressure and prevent heart disease. Moderate walking equals an average of about 100 steps per minute. Use a pedometer and aim for 1,000 steps in 10 minutes, and working up to 3,000 steps in 30 minutes.
IT CAN GET YOU OFF MEDS
Using data from the National Walkers’ Health Study, including more than 32,000 women and 8,000 men, researchers found that those who took the longest weekly walks, were more likely to use less medication. This shouldn’t deter you from taking shorter walks more frequently throughout the week, but you should consider squeezing in a longer walk once a week, perhaps on the weekend when you have more spare time.
With the views which Edmonton trails afford the walk is no longer a drudgery
IT CAN HELP FADE FIBROMYALGIA PAIN
This chronic condition affects more than 4 percent of the population, and often involves pain, fatigue, and brain fog. A small study found that in women 32 to 70 years old, those who walked 60 minutes, and stretched three times a week for 18 weeks reported significant improvements in walking and mental capacity, and were less tired and depressed.
IT HELPS YOU BEAT BREAST CANCER
Women who walk regularly after being diagnosed with breast cancer have a 45 percent greater chance of survival than those who are inactive, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. Yale researchers heading up the study also found that those who exercised in the year before being diagnosed were 30 percent more likely to survive, compared to women who didn’t exercise leading up to their diagnosis.
STROLLING REDUCES STROKE RISK
Walking briskly for just 30 minutes, five days a week can significantly lower your risk of suffering a stroke, according to University of South Carolina researchers. After studying 46,000 men and 15,000 women over the course of 18 years, those with increased fitness levels associated with regular brisk walking had a 40 percent lower risk of suffering a stoke than those with the lowest fitness level.
IT CAN SAVE YOUR MIND
Italian researchers enlisted 749 people suffering from memory problems in a study and measured their walking and other moderate activities, such as yard work. At the four-year follow-up, they found that those who expended the most energy walking had a 27 percent lower risk of developing dementia than the people who expended the least. This could be the result of physical activity’s role in increasing blood flow to the brain.
WEIGHT LOSS WITHOUT DIETING
Scientists at the University of Pittsburgh recently revealed that overweight people who walked briskly for 30 to 60 minutes a day lost weight even if they didn't change any other lifestyle habits. Another American study found that people who walked for at least four hours a week gained less weight (an average 9lb less) than couch potatoes as they got older.
PREVENTS ARTERY DISEASE
Last year, researchers at the University of Colorado found that regular walking helped to prevent peripheral artery disease (which impairs blood flow in the legs and causes leg pain in one-fifth of elderly people).
Walking can even prevent colds. Researchers at the University of Massachusetts medical school found that people who walked every day had 25 per cent fewer colds than those who were sedentary.
Because walking is a weight-bearing exercise, it can also help prevent the bone disease osteoporosis. Bones are like muscles in the way that they get stronger and denser the more they work.The pull of a muscle against a bone, together with the force of gravity when you walk, will stress the bone - which responds by stimulating tissue growth and renewal."
A GOOD SOURCE OF FEEL GOOD
Best of all, walking makes you feel good about yourself. For people suffering from depression, walking three to four times a week for 30 minutes has been shown to enhance their mood. Even if a 20-minute power walk at lunch time is all you can manage, after six weeks it could be comparable to a course of psychotherapy, psychologists at the University of Illinois found.
HOW MUCH HOW OFTEN
Health experts recommend that we should walk 10,000 steps a day (about five miles) to stay healthy, you would probably need to tot up at least 16,000 steps a day to lose weight. It is recommended that aim to progress by increasing the duration of your walk by five minutes every two week, and the intensity by walking faster. In just three months, the results should speak for themselves.
DEFINITION OF BRISK WALK
Brisk Walking Means Moderate Intensity Brisk walking actually refers to your exertion. For your walking pace to be brisk, you need to be breathing harder than usual. While you should still be able to speak in full sentences, you shouldn't be able to sing.
FOR THE BEGINNER
12 minutes per kilometre
FOR THE MORE FIT
9 minutes per kilometre