Here are the benefits of walking you might not know about.

Walking reduces the risk or severity of suffering from a large number of chronic non-communicable diseases, which cause more than 40 million premature deaths in the world every year, the president of the Spanish Society of Sports Medicine told Infosalus. (SEMED), Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oviedo, Dr. Miguel del Valle Soto.

Thus, the preventive role of walking is emphasized in relation to the development of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases (due to the direct effect on cardiopulmonary function), hypercholesterolemia, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, respiratory diseases (COPD), and cognitive impairment. and dementia; And all this regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin and the presence of concomitant diseases. “It also reduces the relative risk of death in apparently healthy people and people with chronic diseases,” he adds.

In addition, this expert in the field of sports medicine emphasizes that exercise helps in the treatment of all these diseases, and at the same time it has an important effect on metabolism, among which the contribution to fat burning stands out: “It is the first therapy for the prevention and treatment overweight, obesity and metabolic syndrome, as well as other endocrine diseases.” In turn, the doctor appreciates that the habit of daily walks improves mental well-being, sleep and life expectancy.

Thus, incorporating walking into daily life, the SMU president emphasizes, and promoting walking-based physical activity interventions can be an “effective strategy” to promote healthy aging and improve health outcomes in all population groups. Here he highlights that researchers have found five regions of the world or “blue zones” (Okinawa in Japan, Sardinia in Italy, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Ikaria in Greece and Loma Linda in California) with the highest concentration of centenarians.

“They identified several factors that contribute to this phenomenon, including diet, social relationships and physical activity. “Walking and other physical activities contribute significantly to the longevity of people in these regions, and walking is an integral part of their daily lives,” he says, noting that a healthy lifestyle can extend the life expectancy of women by 14 years, and 12 years for men. “In addition to walking, you must, of course, take into account your diet, don’t smoke, watch your weight and don’t drink alcohol (or do it in moderation),” adds the doctor.

In turn, Dr. Del Valle Soto emphasizes that aging is associated with endothelial dysfunction, associated with, for example, atherosclerosis, strokes or heart attacks, and says that regular walking has been shown to have a “highly beneficial effect” on this endothelial function. (endothelial cells line the inside of blood vessels, regulate blood pressure and play a fundamental role in cardiovascular health).

“Brisk walking has also been shown to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, improve DNA repair and promote mitochondrial rejuvenation. Walking at sufficient intensity also reduces damage or aging of our DNA and speeds up the repair of damaged DNA. It delays the shortening of telomeres (the ends of chromosomes), which can be said to slow down aging,” the expert adds.

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