These days, we all are aware that there are a multitude of both physical and mental health benefits from incorporating exercise into your daily routine. Some of the latest research in this area has indicated that even moderate amounts and levels of exercise can have significant benefits to our health. For most of us, this is good news as training to run a marathon is not for everyone.
Recently, our Calgary dentist came across an interesting article from Harvard Medical School* about the health benefits of walking. It may surprise you to know that one of these health benefits relates to your oral health. This is great news for our Calgary dentist who has always enjoyed being active and has made walking a part of his daily routine for many years. So go ahead, lace up your sneakers and join Dr. Dirk Thompson in taking steps towards these surprising health benefits!
AN HOUR OF WALKING A DAY CAN KEEP YOUR CALGARY DENTIST AWAY
In a pair of studies from the University of Exeter referred to by the Harvard Medical School article reviewed by our Calgary dentist, researchers have found that a brisk fifteen minute walk can actually help to curb your cravings for chocolate. These studies further found that walking can also actually help to reduce the quantity of chocolate that you may crave in stressful situations. The review further indicated that the latest research indicates that walking can help to reduce your overall craving and consumption of sugary foods and snacks. If an apple a day can keep the doctor away, then a walk a day may also help to keep your Calgary dentist away (not including your annual cleaning and check-up, of course, which is a must)!
WALKING MAY COUNTERACT GENES THAT PROMOTE WEIGHT GAIN
According to this article by Harvard Medical School reviewed by our Calgary dentist, a group of Harvard researchers studied over 12,000 research participants together with thirty-two obesity-promoting genes in order to determine the relationship between these genes and an individual’s weight. During this study, these researchers discovered that the effects of these obesity-promoting genes was diminished by approximately 50% amongst the participants of the study who went for brisk walks for approximately one hour per day.
WALKING MAY REDUCE YOUR RISK OF BREAST CANCER
There is plenty of existing research that indicates that any kind of physical activity will decrease a person’s lifetime risk of cancer, including breast cancer. Interestingly, according to a study by the American Cancer Society (cited in the Harvard Medical School article) that focussed on the benefits of walking, women who went for walks for seven or more hours per week had a 14% overall decrease in breast cancer risk than those who walked three or less hours per week. Further, this study found that walking provided this additional decrease in breast cancer risk even for women who had certain breast cancer risk factors, including being on hormone therapy or being over their ideal weight.
As many of us have been personally affected by breast cancer, including our Calgary dentist who lost his mother-in-law to breast cancer many years ago, this is a great motivation to either start walking or encourage and support a loved one to start a daily walking routine. If you or your loved one cannot walk for a full hour, our Calgary dentist encourages you to go out for as long as you can and, if possible, work up towards longer walks, as any activity is better than none at all.
WALKING CAN EASE YOUR JOINT PAIN
According to the article by Harvard Medical School, there are several studies that have reported that walking has benefits for joint pain, including by reducing arthritis-related pain. Further, according to this article, walking may even have a preventative effect on those who walk five to six miles per week by preventing arthritis from developing at all. Our own Calgary dentist has reported that walking has helped ease his own joint pain, especially in his knees and hips, with these areas being most susceptible to osteoarthritis. According to our Calgary dentist, movement in the joint from walking helps to lubricate the joint and strengthen the muscles that support them.
WALKING MAY BOOST YOUR IMMUNITY
Another benefit of walking described by the Harvard Medical School article relates to the strength of your immune system. According to the Harvard Medical School article, a study consisting of over 1,000 participants, comprised of both men and women, found that those who walked a minimum of twenty minutes a day, for five days a week, experienced 43% fewer days of sickness than those who exercised only once per week or less*. Further, for those who walked, if they did become ill, there illness was for a shorter duration with milder symptoms.
As part of your healthcare team, our Calgary dentist takes a holistic approach to your overall health and encourages you to stay healthy in all aspects of your life. This includes eating healthy, staying physically active, keeping alcohol consumption to reasonable levels, not using tobacco products, recognizing your mental health needs, going for regular check-ups with your physician, not ignoring any health concerns or symptoms, and of course, caring for your oral health. Caring for your oral health means ensuring that you have a consistent oral healthcare routine which includes brushing your teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time, flossing your teeth once per day, protecting your teeth and mouth when playing sports and seeing your Calgary dentist and dental hygienist at least annually.
If you are looking for a new Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., would be thrilled to have you as a patient. We offer early morning, evening and weekend dental appointments and will gladly work around your and your family’s schedule. If there is anything our Calgary dentist office can do for you, please let us know. We can be reached at 403.283.4252. Call us today!
(*Harvard Medical School, https://www.health.harvard.edu/promotions/harvard-health-publications/walking-for-health?utm_source=delivra&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=HB20210610-Walking&utm_id=2990315&utm_term=&dlv-emuid=dfaae6c7-986a-4e2c-a95f-fc87135d3849&dlv-mlid=2990315)
This blog post written by our Calgary dentist, Dr. Dirk Thompson, D.D.S., is for informational purposes only. It is not to be taken or used as a substitute for dental, medical or other professional advice, treatment or diagnosis. Always ask your dentist, physician or other healthcare professional for advice before altering your diet or healthcare routine. Individual patient needs and oral healthcare concerns vary so please consult your dentist for more information about your specific dental health requirements.
Copyright 2021: Dirk A. Thompson Professional Corporation operating as Advance Your Health Dental. Dr. Dirk A. Thompson, D.D.S., is a general dentist in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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