Take a hike, it’s good for you. Maybe I should rephrase that sentence. Regular exercise in Victoria’s beautiful surroundings can have many health benefits. I think that sounds a bit better.  Grammar aside, there are many benefits from getting regular exercise in the great outdoors. In this article I shall mention some of the health benefits of walking you might not have thought about.

Can walking in a park make you happier? Most of us believe this, but now there is science that provides proof. A team from Stanford University published a study in the July 2015 issue of the  Proceedings of the National Academy of Science called, “Nature experience reduces rumination and subgenual prefrontal cortex activation”. This is quite an impressive headline that boils down to “walking in nature can make you happier.” These researchers scanned the brains of people who walked in a park, or in a high traffic urban setting, for 90 minutes. The people in the park showed decreased activity in a region of the brain associated with depression, compared to those that walking alongside busy traffic.  

You should also take your children, or grandkids, for a walk; it is good for their bones. This idea is backed by science too. Researchers at Oregon State University, found that children who got regular weight bearing exercise had stronger bones than sedentary children. You might not be aware of this but 60% of the risk of developing osteoporosis in adulthood can be attributed to lack of bone density created in childhood. How much exercise is needed per day? These researchers felt that 40 to 60 minutes at any point throughout the day was good. This is consistent with Health Canada recommendations for physical activity.

Regular exercise for children can also make them smarter. Again, this statement is backed up with science. In Sweden, researchers tracked the physical activity and academic achievement in twins. Apparently there is a large registry of twins in Sweden which provides all sorts of interesting health information. What they found is that regular physical exercise between the ages of 15-18 years lead to greater cognitive performance at age 18.

So now that you are in the great outdoors, had a lovely walk around the inner harbour, why would you need to have your blood pressure checked? As always, science has a great reason. Researchers from the Indiana State University, found that 18% of patients screened at community events were found to have undiagnosed high blood pressure. So stop by the Heart Pharmacy booth and have your blood pressure checked by one of our Pharmacists. While you are there, ask to try our portable fingertip electrocardiogram device called Kardia. Undiagnosed atrial fibrillation, a type of irregular heartbeat, is a significant risk factor for strokes. This Kardia device can determine if you might have atrial fibrillation in under 30 seconds.

Make health your priority. We look forward to seeing you on Sunday May 6th, at Fisherman’s Wharf Park for the 7th annual Hike for Hospice. It’s not really a hike, more of a 3.5 km scenic stroll around Victoria’s Inner Harbour. The hike begins at 10am.  Hopefully we will see lots of you there. Don’t forget to wear your sunhat and put on sunscreen lotion.

AuthorMonique de Moor