When it Comes to Walking, it's all Good, Researcher Says
it's easy for people to get confused about exercise -- how many minutes
a day should they spend working out, for how long and at what exertion
level? Conflicting facts and opinions abound, but one Mayo Clinic
physician says the bottom line is this: walking is good, whether the
outcome measurement is blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular
disease, joint problems or mental health.
there and taking a walk is what it's all about," says James Levine,
M.D., Ph.D., and a Mayo Clinic expert on obesity. "You don't have to
join a gym, you don't have to check your pulse. You just have to switch
off the TV, get off the sofa and go for a walk."
benefit associated with walking is the subject of Dr. Levine's
editorial in the July issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. Dr. Levine's
piece is entitled, "Exercise: A Walk in the Park?" and accompanies a
Proceedings article that showcases the merits of walking as beneficial
undertaken by physicians from the Shinshu University Graduate School of
Medicine in Matsumoto, Japan, determined that high-intensity interval
walking may protect against high blood pressure and decreased muscle
strength among older people.
months, the Japanese researchers studied 246 adults who engaged in
either no walking or moderate to high-intensity walking. The group who
engaged in high-intensity walking experienced the most significant
improvement in their health, the researchers found. In his editorial,
Dr. Levine says the study lends credence to the notion that walking is
a legitimate, worthy mode of exercise for all people. Dr. Levine says
it's a welcome message for his patients, who fight obesity and
appreciate that a walk is one way to improve their health.
health club membership or personal trainer, walking "is there for
everyone," Dr. Levine says. "Walking doesn't cost you anything, you can
do it barefoot and you can do it now, this minute."
bad for cholesterol, it's bad for your back and muscles," Dr. Levine
says. "It's such a terrible thing for our bodies to do and the less of
it you do, the better. But activity is not easy. If itwere easy,
everyone would do it."
the study in Mayo Clinic Proceedings on high-intensity walking were
Ken-Ichi Nemoto; Hirokazu Gen-No, Ph.D.; Shizue Masuki, Ph.D.; Kazunobu
Okazaki, Ph.D.; and Hiroshi Nose, M.D., Ph.D., all from the Shinshu
University Graduate School of Medicine.
journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings publishes original articles, reviews
and editorials dealing with clinical and laboratory medicine, clinical
research, basic science research and clinical epidemiology.
Articles are available online at www.mayoclinicproceedings.com.