The second most common preventable cause of death in Americans is being inactive, or not exercising, according to MedicineNet.com. Walking is an exercise anyone can do that improves the health of your intestinal tract. This can mean prevention of diseases such as colon cancer. For a healthy colon, walk 30 minutes every day, no matter your age or health condition. Consult with your doctor before starting any new exercise program, especially if you're taking medications or are living with a chronic disease.
Inactivity can cause constipation. However, walking every day can help regulate your bowel movements. Do a few 10-minute walks throughout the day, or go on a longer walk or hike. Exercise stimulates the nervous system and helps the muscles and nerves in the gut to work better, preventing and relieving constipation.
According to a "New York Times" article, taking a short walk after a meal reduces the amount of glucose in your bloodstream. Glucose is a product of digestion that causes weight gain if that energy isn't utilized. A 2013 study by the American Diabetes Association found that just a 15-minute walk after each meal reduced blood sugar levels better than one daily 45-minute walk in sedentary, overweight elderly individuals. Walk about 15 minutes after a meal to improve digestion and ward off weight gain and diabetes.
Prevent Colon Cancer
Dr. Kathleen Wolin at the Washington University School of Medicine suggests walking 30 minutes a day to lower your risk of developing several different diseases and cancers, including colon cancer. According to a BBC article, U.S. scientists determined that people who exercise are 24 percent less likely to get colon cancer than those who don't exercise. Exercise also helps your bowels if you're living with colon cancer. Walking daily can reduce the severity of your condition and help you live longer.
If you're an inactive person who would like to get started exercising, walking is a good exercise to begin with because virtually anyone can do it, and you can do it anywhere. To get started, take a walk outside with a watch or phone on you so you can tell the time. Walk for five minutes, then turn around and walk back for five minutes to complete a 10-minute walk. Next you can move up to 10 minutes walking out and 10 minutes walking back, and finally 15 minutes both ways for a 30-minute walk. Aim to walk every day. From home, you can walk around your block or drive to a scenic place where you'd prefer to walk. You could also browse the mall or adventure down local trails in your area.
Ben Prien is a fitness writer, personal trainer and workout enthusiast. He's been writing fitness articles since 2012 and has worked at "Men’s Fitness" and "Muscle & Fitness" magazines. He specializes in sports conditioning, muscle training, weight loss and sports nutrition.