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Most people will say walking is good for you, but just how good?
Walking improves circulation. It also wards off heart disease, brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens the heart, says the Arthritis Foundation, listing a dozen benefits of walking.
Did you know that walking might help tame a sweet tooth? The Harvard Medical School cites studies that found walking can curb cravings for chocolate and other sugary snacks.
Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones, the Harvard Medical School article explains.
In another study of more than 1,000 men and women, those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, had 43 percent fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration with milder symptoms.
And an essay in The New Yorker examines the correlation between walking, thinking, and writingÂ with quotes from Henry David Thoreau and other writers.
The American Heart Association has put together Walking, Take the First Step, a comprehensive guide to help you get off to a safe start.
Molly Kavanaugh writes for the Kendal at Oberlin community in northern Ohio. This article is republished by permission of Kendal at Oberlin.
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