envato.com, by valuavitaly

Walking has many benefits, including improving muscle strength and reducing stress

“So what do you want to talk about today? What questions do you have?” Taylor Pedersen, D.O., asks as a group of walkers takes off down the trail at Dallas County Community Park in Buffalo, Mo.

On a rare warm and sunny day in early March, the group first talks about how no-fat and low-fat diets can harm the brain and lead to dementia. The conversation transitions to how popular diet programs can be harmful and which diets to avoid. 

Next up, sugar consumption in the U.S. has increased exponentially since the 1960s. 

What is to blame for the increase? 

“Processed foods,” Kristina Kaufmann, D.O. said. “Sugar makes everything taste better, but sugar is like a drug. It is addictive. Fruits and vegetables with lean meats are the way to go.”

The doctors tell patients daily that they need to be more active. Pedersen recalls a quote she often repeats, 

“Respect your body enough to move it,” she said. 

By hosting the monthly walking events, the doctors show they are willing to do what they are telling their patients to do. 

“And we want people to know we are real people, too, just like them,” Kaufmann added.

Walking together reinforces the idea of accountability, which Kaufmann says is vital to success with a fitness program. 

“Even if you’ve worked out your entire life, it’s so easy to get into a rut and not want to do it,” she said.

Benefits of walking

Why walk? Can’t you burn more calories and get more benefits from other forms of exercise?

“Walking is something everyone can do,” Kaufmann said. “It doesn’t matter your speed. It’s important to get your heart rate up, but you don’t have to run to do it. Especially as women get older, we need to exercise to build our muscles and keep our bones strong. And it helps us sleep better.”

Walking is good for:

• Muscle strength

• Joint health

• Stress relief

• Emotional health

• Mental health

• Heart health

• Weight control

“There are so many things that just moving your body can do for you that really no medicine or other form of health can do for you in such a unified, combined manner,” Pedersen said. 

“Walking is the best thing that we can do for our bodies.” 


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