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20 Benefits of Brisk Walking

Lots of men despise exercise.  One of the most notable is William Faloon, the head of Life Extension Foundation.  He is trying to bring all his health markers in line mostly via the use of supplements.

There are a lot of reasons for such a dislike and one of them are that weight lifting and resistance training can be downright painful.  I can be a little masochistic and so that's probably why I love weights!  Still other men are significantly overweight and are somewhat embarassed to go to the gym or jog.  Regardless of your reason, there is a simple, natural way to exercise that virtually anyone can do:  brisk walking.  This is what our bodies were intended to do and all of the healthy supercultures in the world do hours of it virtually every day.  Of course, brisk walking just refers to a "fast walk," i.e. not leisurely walking at a reduced pace. 

The benefits of this to your body, brain and bedroom are simply astonishing and we list 20 of them below:

  1. Inflammation. The Holy Grail of any natural anti-aging strategy is to lower inflammation without side effects, and it turns out that brisk walking is probably #1 in this category. As long as you aren't strolling through Central Park at midnight, this will powerfully lower inflammation, something I discuss in my page (along with abundant research) on Exercise and Inflammation.
  2. Blood Pressure.  Many studies have shown that brisk walking does a nice job of lowering blood pressure. [7] The reason, of course, is that it boost nitric oxide which allows your arteries to relax, relax, relax...
  3. Nitric Oxide.  We already mentioned above that brisk walking lower blood pressure.  How does it do this miracle?  Of course, it pumps out nitric oxide and raises your baseline nitric oxide levels. [19] See my link on Increasing Your Nitric Oxide Levels Through Exercise for more information.
  4. Reduced Risk of Heart Disease. One large study of men showed that just a half hour of brisk walking per day lowered cardiovascular disease risk by 18%. [2] Many other studies have showed descrease risk of cardiovascular risk factors as well.  And always keep in mind that heart disease is the #1 killer of man by far and is  root cause for much erectile dysfunction.
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  6. Fasting Blood Sugar.  One study of obese men showed significant improvements in fasting blood sugar levels from a brisk walking exercise regimen. [15] And, if you have blood sugar/insulin issues from some type of lifestyle change, walking at a good pace is likely to greatly help.  The point is that walking earlier in the day can help your blood sugar hours and hours later:  you get to reap the benefits even when you are siting there.
  7. Prostate Cancer.  Brisk walking has been found in a couple of studies to greatly reduce the ads of prostate cancer reoccurrence. [16]
  8. Depression Relief.  A 2005 study found that significant walking - "about 35 minutes a day five times a week or 60 minutes a day three times a week" [18] - greatly improved mild to moderate depression.  The additional blood flow and elevated neurotransmitters from even exercise can definitely make a difference.
  9. VLDL Improvements. One of the most dangerous molecules to your arteries, penile or otherwise, are the very low density type. Brisk walking improved clearance of VLDL substantially 12 hours after exercise. [3]
  10. Blood Pressure Reduction.  Several studies show that brisk walking reduces both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in men. [5]
  11. Lower Triclycerides.  Triclycerides are related primarily to carbs, especially refined.  And they are a risk factor for heart disease and erectile dysfunction.  Researchers monitored triclycerides after a two hour brisk walk and found that triclycerides were lowered by 31%  by adding up the area-under-the-curvie, which is a nice way to summarize total triglyceride exposure in this case for six hours. [6] What they did was have the walkers walk for 2 hours at a low intensity pace, fast and then consume a standard meal.  Again, this improved the triglyceride response 15 hours later and then for six hours afterward!
  12. Weight Loss.  Of course, we all know that any form of exercise burns calories.  However, more intense, longer forms of exercise can really stimulate a counterproductive increase in appetite in many men.  One study of senior men on a 5-day-per-week brisk walking program found that it overcame this issue and resulted in significant weight loss even without dieting. [4]  A meta-analysis found that brisk walking showed consistent weight loss as one of its beneficial effects. [17]
  13. Apolipoprotein (apo) A-II. One study split men and women up into 3 different walking groups:  long, intermediate and short.  Not surprisingly, the long and intermediate groups had significant reductions in apolipoprotein (apo) A-II.
  14. Appetite and Craving Control.  One study on chocolate eaters showed improved control over their chocolate cravings from brisk walking. []
  15. Pulse / Heart Rate. A study of middle-aged but sedentary men found that brisk walking lowered pulse rates. As I discuss in my link on Pulse Rate, many experts think that you only get so many beats in a lifetime. They less beats, the longer (potentially) that you can live. [1]
  16. Decreased Risk of Stroke.  One study of early senior-aged men found that participants had a significant reduction in the risk of stroke from just 5 30-minute walking sessions per week. [5] Other studies have found a reduced risk of stroke as well.
  17. Decreased Cortisol Levels.  One study showed that brisk walking lowered cortisol levels. [10] Other studies have shown similar results.
  18. Increased HDL.  One research reviews found fairly precise levels at which HDL is improved [11] The authors concluded that "thresholds established from cross-sectional and longitudinal exercise training studies indicate that 15 to 20 miles/week of brisk walking or jogging, which elicit between 1,200 to 2,200 kcals of energy expenditure per week, is associated with triglyceride reductions of 5 to 38 mg/dL and HDL-C increases of 2 to 8 mg/dL. ."
  19. Diabetes.  It is no secret that exercise, espeically at moderate and above inensity levels really improves insulin sensitivity.  Because of this, researchers have found that brisk walking greatly reduces the risk for type II (adult onset) diabetes.  In fact, a 2001 study found a 50% reduction in diabetes risk in men. [12] Not bad for one simple activity.  And a study of diabetics showed that those who walked the most had about half the risk of dying. [13]
  20. Improved VO2max.  One of the signs of cardivascular training from exercise is incresed VO2max.  Some men might think that brisk walking could not achieve this but it does, according to a number of studies.  In fact, one study found that three 10-minute walks improved VO2max more than a one 30-minute walk. [14]
  21. Cardiovascular Training.  One thing that you want is to achieve the training effect from your exercise regimen.  Brisk walking can do just that. [20]
  22. Appetite Control.  One issue with more strenuous forms of exercise is that they increase appetitie.  Some of you have experienced the frustration of trying to lose weight while exercising, yet actually gaining weight because you got so hungry.  This is usually because the exercise was intense.  Walking, however, has been shown to burn calories without signficantly increase appetite or appetite hormones. [21]
 

REFERENCES::

1) European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology, 1994, 68(6):531-537, "The influence of a 1-year programme of brisk walking on endurance fitness and body composition in previously sedentary men aged 42–59 years"

2) JAMA, 2002, 288(16), "Exercise Type and Intensity in Relation to Coronary Heart Disease in Men"

3) Metabolism, Aug 2007, 56(8):1037-1043, "A single bout of brisk walking increases basal very low-density lipoprotein triacylglycerol clearance in young men"

4) Int J Sports Med, 2004, 25(7):539-546, "Effects of Brisk Walking on Static and Dynamic Balance, Locomotion, Body Composition, and Aerobic Capacity in Ageing Healthy Active Men"

5) Preventive Medicine, August 2005, 41(2):622–628, "Brisk walking, fitness, and cardiovascular risk: A randomized controlled trial in primary care"

6) Metabolism, Jul 1994, 43(7):836–841, "The effect of a single bout of brisk walking on postprandial lipemia in normolipidemic young adults"

7) Journal of Psychosomatic Research, May 1992, 36(4):361–370, "Efficacy of Tai Chi, brisk walking, meditation, and reading in reducing mental and emotional stress"

8) Health Educ. Res. (1999) 14 (6): 803-815, "The efficacy of accumulated short bouts versus single daily bouts of brisk walking in improving aerobic fitness and blood lipid profiles "

9) Appetite, Feb 2009, 52(1):155–160, "Acute effects of brisk walking on urges to eat chocolate, affect, and responses to a stressor and chocolate cue. An experimental study"

10) Journal of Psychosomatic Research, May 1992, 36(4):361–370, "Efficacy of Tai Chi, brisk walking, meditation, and reading in reducing mental and emotional stress"

11) J Cardiopulm Rehabil, 2002 Nov-Dec, 22(6):385-98, "Lipids, lipoproteins, and exercise"

12) JAMA, Jun 25 2001, 161(12), "Physical Activity and Television Watching in Relation to Risk for Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Men"

13) Circulation, 2003, 107:2435-2439, "Physical Activity in Relation to Cardiovascular Disease and Total Mortality Among Men With Type 2 Diabetes"

14) Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 34(9): 1468-1474, "Accumulating brisk walking for fitness, cardiovascular risk, and psychological health."

15) Am J Clin Nutr, Sept 1979, 32(9):1776-1787, "Effects of a vigorous walking program on body composition, and carbohydrate and lipid metabolism of obese young men"

16) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110524153416.htm

17) Preventive Medicine, May 2007, 44(5):377-385, "The effect of walking on fitness, fatness and resting blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomised, controlled trials"

18) http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Exercise-and-Depression-report-excerpt.htm

19) Circulation, 1999, 100:1194-1202, "Regular Aerobic Exercise Augments Endothelium-Dependent Vascular Relaxation in Normotensive As Well As Hypertensive Subjects"

20) JAMA, 1988, 259(18):2720-2724, "Walking for Health and Fitness"

21) Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 42(3):485-492, "Influence of brisk walking on appetite, energy intake, and plasma acylated ghrelin"

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