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13 Reasons to Walk More Each Day

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It’s safe, free, easy to do, doesn’t require any special equipment or a gym membership, and is one of the best ways to protect your heart and keep your body healthy. Yet, it is often pushed aside in favor of flashier, more “impressive,” or more physically demanding workouts. The truth is, the benefits of walking are incredible and worth paying attention to.

Grab your tennis shoes, hit the trail, and start walking…you’ll thank us later. Here’s why you should get your walk on daily.

Benefits of walking every day

Walking reduces diabetes risk 

Even if you don’t have diabetes, your blood sugar could be raging unchecked throughout your body. Poor dietary choices, obesity, lack of physical activity, and stress can all contribute to high blood sugar and, eventually, the development of diabetes. 

Walking could help regulate blood sugar and reduce diabetes risk by 43 percent. 

Walking improves mood

A simple outdoor walk is a powerful tool for reducing stress, decreasing the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and brightening your mood. It isn’t just a feeling either; science backs up the effects of walking on your brain.

A brisk walk gets the blood flowing through your whole body, increasing circulation and oxygen to the brain. When your brain has an adequate oxygen supply, you can think more clearly, experience less brain fog, and have an improved mood

Walking reduces circulating cortisol levels and can be an excellent tool for managing chronic stress. It positively impacts the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, the body’s central stress response system.  Meaning the more often you walk, the less stressed you will be. 

One 2016 study found that even when participants were not aware of the nature of the experiment, walking produced increased feelings of joy, interest, and excitement. The 128 participants weren’t thinking of the walk as exercise in the study but still received a mood boost. The simple act of getting up and walking, regardless of your thoughts on the matter, could put you in a better state of mind. 

Studies have shown that taking a stroll through nature, especially a forested area, could be a beneficial tool for managing and reducing depression and anxiety. Walking outdoors is especially powerful because sunlight increases serotonin levels (the happy hormone) and helps ward off negative emotions. 

Walking helps maintain a healthy weight

The shocking statistics of obese and overweight Americans correlate with the rise of a sedentary lifestyle. Drive-thrus, grocery delivery, and work-from-home jobs have made it possible for people to move very little and exercise even less. 

The CDC estimates that 73 percent of Americans are either overweight or obese. This number could decrease dramatically with simple lifestyle interventions such as a clean diet and a daily walk. 

Walking is accessible for any mobile individual, even if they are overweight. It is the gateway into a healthy body that everyone can unlock.

This incredible form of aerobic exercise combats the negative effects of a sedentary lifestyle, helps you burn calories (which contributes to weight loss), and reduces belly fat associated with heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

Plus, since walking is so easy to incorporate into your daily routine and makes you feel better, many people find it easier to stick with than other types of exercise. Walking helps you lose weight and help you maintain that weight loss. 

Walking alleviates joint pain

Unlike other aerobic exercises such as running, walking is gentle on your joints. It is an excellent choice for people with arthritis, chronic joint pain, or those who are recovering from an injury. 

Though rest can occasionally alleviate joint pain, gentle stretching and walking are often more helpful. These exercises can help improve blood flow to the cartilage around your joints, lubricate your joints, and reduce swelling and stiffness. 

Swimming and biking are also excellent choices for increasing mobility and preventing joint pain. 

Walking reduces risk of developing cancer

A large study led by the American Cancer Society found that walking is associated with a reduced risk of breast cancer and colon cancer, along with heart disease and diabetes. 

Researchers noted a link between any amount of walking (even below minimum recommendations) and lower mortality risk. However, they saw the most benefit in people who got one to two times the daily recommended amount of physical activity.

The American Cancer Society suggests a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity. Walking for 30 minutes per day and incorporating strength-training exercise a few days a week is a great way to exceed these guidelines for maximum protective benefits. 

Results from pooled data of 12 studies covering 1.44 million people showed that leisure-time physical activity, including walking, was associated with a lower risk of over 13 different types of cancer, even after adjusting for factors like smoking and obesity. 

Walking benefits blood pressure

Elevated blood pressure or hypertension can contribute to several heart conditions, including stroke. Research published in the journal Hypertension indicates that exercise, not medication, could be the key to reducing elevated blood pressure by reducing blood vessel stiffness and improving circulation. 

Walking strengthens muscles

Most people don’t think of walking as their first option to tone and define muscles, but this exercise is deceptively effective. Find a route with hills or some form of incline, and you will reap even more musculoskeletal benefits. 

Walking benefits the brain

Daily, moderate exercise is the best defense against age-related cognitive decline. Walking protects the brain by improving blood flow and increasing the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for memory. 

It can also reduce risk factors associated with dementia, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and depression. Some studies support physical activity for reducing cognitive decline in older individuals as it could strengthen communication between brain cells. 

Walking reduces the risk of heart disease

Like every other kind of movement, walking is one of the greatest things you can do to achieve your 100 Year Heart and prevent cardiovascular disease. Studies suggest that 30 minutes of walking five days a week could reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease by more than 30 percent.

Brisk walking gives your lungs and heart a gentle workout to help improve oxygen intake, normalize cholesterol, reduce resting heart rate, and keep your blood circulating effectively. 

Walking benefits sleep 

An evening walk could be just what you need to unwind, relax, and sleep soundlessly through the night. Lack of movement is associated with sleep disturbances and insomnia. Walking benefits quality sleep and prevents stress-related sleep disturbances. 

Walking benefits digestion

Gut health is far more critical than you might think. When your gut is healthy and happy, so are you. Walking may improve bowel movement regularity, reduce constipation, and prevent bloating. Scientists believe this is because walking helps stimulate the digestive system and helps it work more effectively. 

Walking boosts the immune system

Regular, moderate exercise activates the immune response and keeps your immune cells in top fighting form, ready to fend off any foreign pathogens or harmful bacteria. 

Walking increases energy

Though many people associate physical activity with fatigue, the opposite is true, particularly with walking. Getting your walk on could give you that afternoon pick-me-up, as walking improves circulation, increasing the oxygen in your blood that your mitochondria use to create energy on a cellular level. 

How to walk for your 100 Year Heart

  • Stay consistent: Any movement is better than no movement. A 30-minute walk (or longer) every day is sustainable and easy to fit into your routine. Just keep moving! 
  • Get outside: While walking on a treadmill is a better option than not walking, try to get outside as much as possible. The added benefits of sunshine and fresh air will elevate your walk and make it even more life-giving.
  • Bring a friend: Walking by yourself is a great time to get in touch with your thoughts, commune with nature, and practice active meditation. However, if you prefer company or need another person to keep you accountable, enlist a friend to join you on your daily walk. Positive social interaction is great for your mental and heart health!
  • Level up when you’re ready: Simply getting outside and going for a walk can be counted as a win. However, once you’ve gotten used to walking every day, start to increase your speed for even more aerobic benefit. Getting your heart rate elevated with exercise is an excellent way to support cardiovascular health.
  • Make physical activity part of your life: Walking every day is an excellent goal to strive for, but it can be a little tricky to make it a part of your routine when you’re just starting. Train your brain to crave movement by making simple lifestyle adjustments, such as parking at the back of the parking lot, walking on your lunch break, and taking the stairs. The steps add up quicker than you think.

Next steps

Living a healthy lifestyle is not complicated. Eat a clean, 100 Year Heart Diet, avoid processed foods, get out in the sunshine, and get moving. You don’t need expensive equipment or a personal trainer to get fit and protect your heart — your own two legs will do just fine and will carry you far on your wellness journey. 

Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well 


Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD

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Dr. James Kneller is one of the nation’s leading heart rhythm specialists. Dr. Kneller is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Cardiovascular Disease, and Internal Medicine.

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About Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD, FACC

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As a Naturopathic Physician, I am trained to treat the whole person and get to the root cause of disease.

I went to Arizona State University where I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a depth in physiology and minor in Spanish. After my undergraduate degree I was working on prerequisite classes towards medical school, which is when I came to learn that my values identified best with the principles of naturopathic medicine. I knew that I wanted to help patients identify the causes of disease and be able to offer treatments which would improve their health rather than simply treating symptoms.

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About Dr. Jack Wolfson DO, FACC

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Dr. Jack Wolfson is a board-certified cardiologist, Amazon best-selling author, husband, father, and the nation’s #1 Natural Heart Doctor.

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Dr. Wolfson and his wife Heather have four children and are committed to making the world a better place to live. They provide for those in need (including animals) and support natural health causes through their philanthropic efforts.

Chiropractic

Our chiropractor is an expert at adjustments and holistic chiropractic care and works closely in conjunction with the other health care experts at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

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We use specially formulated natural vitamins and minerals that are injected into a vein to prevent or treat dehydration. Ideal for people in Arizona.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Acupuncture

Stimulate your body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being with acupuncture at Natural Heart Doctor.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Health Coaching

Our health coaches use evidence based skillful conversation, clinical interventions, and strategies to engage you actively and safely in health behavior changes.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Cardio Tests

We use the most advanced testing in the world to assess heart health and to identify the root cause of your health issues.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Office Visits

Schedule an office visit with one of our cardiologists, holistic physicians, chiropractor, or health coaches.

Call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Frequently Asked Questions

I’d like to receive an online second opinion from Natural Heart Doctor. What do I do next?

You can initiate a second opinion online through our website at any time. To begin, select the team member you’d like to speak with and open an account.

Click here for cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Lauren Lattanza. Get details.

Naturopathic Medical Doctor Dr. Tonia Rainier. Get details.

Click here for  Natural Heart Doctor Health Coach.

Alternatively, you can email health@naturalheartdoctor.com. A member of our care team will help guide you through the process of starting a second opinion.

What is the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

The cost for most second opinions varies by team member. This fee includes information collection, a phone or video consultation, a second opinion from a Natural Heart Doctor specialist and guidance throughout the process from your personal Care Team at Natural Heart Doctor.

Cardiologist Dr. Jack Wolfson’s Second Opinion Fee is $1500.

Holistic Physician’s Dr. Lauren Lattanza’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Naturopathic Physician Dr. Tonia Rainier’s Second Opinion Fee is $250.

Note: We apply the Online Second Opinion Call fee as a credit to any future consultations with Natural Heart Doctor, should you choose them.

Will my insurance cover the cost of a Natural Heart Doctor Online Second Opinion?

Most likely, no. Most health plans do not cover online second opinions or consultations. You are responsible for the cost of our second opinion. Natural Heart Doctor cannot file a claim with your insurance carrier, nor can we provide a procedure (CPT) code for this service.

What is the timeline to receive an online second opinion?

We do our best to schedule your second opinion as quickly as possible. Typically, it takes 5 to 7 business days after your information has been collected to receive your phone or video online second opinion.

What information do you need in advance of our call?

Our office will send you a short questionnaire to complete and return. We DO NOT need your complete medical records.

How many questions can I ask the expert during our call?

You may ask a maximum of five questions. This is to ensure that the expert has sufficient time to devote to each question. All questions must be finalized before your online meeting.

What should I expect to receive once my second opinion is complete?

You will receive a summary of our discussion along with our second opinion. The second opinion will be in written form. After you have reviewed the second opinion, a Natural Heart Doctor clinician will follow up with you by phone to address general medical questions about the information provided in the second opinion.

What if I have follow-up questions for the expert after I have reviewed my second opinion?

If you have a clarifying question about an expert’s response to one of the questions in your second opinion, and the Natural Heart Doctor clinician is unable to address it, then you may request a follow up session for an additional fee. 

Is my medical and payment information secure?

Natural Heart Doctor is strongly committed to protecting the privacy and security of all our patients. Our website meets all federal requirements for protecting personal health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All financial transactions are processed by Natural Heart Doctor securely using industry standard payment processing tools.

I would rather visit Natural Heart Doctor for an in-person appointment. What should I do next?

If you would prefer an in-person appointment at Natural Heart Doctor instead of an online second opinion, please call (480) 535-6844 for details and scheduling.

Can I schedule a follow up appointment with the specialist who provided my online second opinion?

Yes, we’re happy to help you on an extended basis. Our clinician can discuss options with you when presenting our second opinion summary.