May 21, 2010, Newsletter Issue #62: The Magic Pill?

Tip of the Week

Research on walking shows so many health benefits that if you could get them through a pill, it would seem to be "magic." Although most research has been done with regular walking, there's no reason to think that Nordic walking would not be as good, or better. Duke Medicine Health News put together some recent studies and found that walking helps with the following: lowering blood pressure, reducing risk of heart attack and stroke, lowering triglycerides, improving insulin sensitivity, and avoiding dementia. It also shrinks abdominal fat.

Walking improves your metabolic profile and guards against metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome, which is becoming more common, is a group of symptoms including high blood presure, high triglycerides, low beneficial HDL cholesterol, abdominal obesity, and insulin resistance.

To get these health benefits, you only have to walk 30 minutes every day (or sometimes 5 or 6 days a week, depending on the study). You can even do that 30 minutes in two or three segments, though you will probably want to devote the 30 minutes to Nordic walking all at once. Is Nordic walking even more beneficial than regular walking? We can't really say, because the research hasn't been done. But it is more fun, so you'll be more likely to do it.

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