We’re always looking for more motivation to get moving. Knowing the extra benefits to exercise can help us stick to our routine. When it’s hot out, we’re less interested in walking. But, knowing a 20-minute walk can lower inflammation might make you more interested in getting out for a walk.
Inflammation can increase insulin resistance. And insulin resistance can increase inflammation. It’s a cycle that can ramp up in the body and can lead to long-term problems. But, new research shows that just 20 minutes of walking can reduce TNF levels, a protein involved in inflammation.
“Our study found one session of about 20 minutes of moderate treadmill exercise resulted in a 5 percent decrease in the number of stimulated immune cells producing TNF,” said senior study author Dr. Suzi Hong, at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. “Knowing what sets regulatory mechanisms of inflammatory proteins in motion may contribute to developing new therapies for the overwhelming number of individuals with chronic inflammatory conditions.”
While we all know that exercise is beneficial, learning that as little as 20 minutes can help is excellent news. “Our study shows a workout session doesn’t actually have to be intense to have anti-inflammatory effects,” said Dr. Hong. “Twenty minutes to half-an-hour of moderate exercise, including fast walking, appears to be sufficient.”
Walking doesn’t have to be your go-to exercise. We like it because it doesn’t require equipment or a gym. But, if you find walking tedious or have joints that hurt, swimming is an excellent option. It gives you a full-body workout without putting as much of a strain on your bones and joints. Studies have found that it not only doesn’t exacerbate joint pain: it can relieve it.
In the summer, swimming is highly appealing because it gets you away from the heat. Water aerobics is another option that keeps you in the pool and counts as moderate exercise. If there isn’t an accessible pool near you, walking up and down the stairs for 15 minutes is a good option. If you’re more in the mood for an “activity,” biking, gardening and dancing all count! Plus, thoroughly washing your car is a moderate workout.
Knowing how much moderate exercise helps our bodies fight inflammation and aids insulin sensitivity can help motivate us to move more, even in the summer. Of course, you should be aware of the heat. If it’s warm in your area, exercise in the coolest part of the day and stick to an indoor workout if it’s too warm outdoors. Finding exercise to fit the season is essential. Summer will pass but maintaining your health is always vital.