Maria Kang

Study: ALL the benefits of walking to school

With school starting EVERWHERE this month, here’s a great study to think about! Make your kids walk to school. HEY! Why don’t you and your dog walk with them!!

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Walking to School Could Reduce Stress Reactivity in Children, May Curb Risk of Heart Disease

ScienceDaily (Aug. 11, 2010) — A simple morning walk to school could reduce stress reactivity in children during the school day, curbing increases in heart rate and blood pressure that can lead to cardiovascular disease later in life, according to a new University at Buffalo study.

UB researchers report in the August 2010 issue of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise that children who took a simulated walk to school later experienced smaller elevations in systolic blood pressure, heart rate and perceived stress while taking a short exam than children who had gotten a simulated ride to school.

Cardiovascular reactivity — including changes in heart rate and blood pressure due to stress — is associated with the beginnings of cardiovascular disease in children, and atherosclerosis — the dangerous build-up of cholesterol, calcium, fat and other substances in artery walls — in adults.

“The cardiovascular disease process begins in childhood, so if we can find some way of stopping or slowing that process, that would provide an important health benefit,” says James Roemmich, UB associate professor of pediatrics and exercise and nutrition science and senior investigator on the study, which he completed with graduate students Maya Lambiase and Heather Barry. “We know that physical activity has a protective effect on the development of cardiovascular disease, and one way it may be doing so is by reducing stress reactivity.”

Roemmich says because it’s not known how long the protective effect of a bout of exercise lasts, parents and educators should promote active play time throughout the day.

“If it only lasts a couple of hours, then it would be most beneficial if a child walked or biked to school, then had recess during school, as well as a break at lunch, so they had opportunities for physical activity throughout the day,” Roemmich says. “This would put them in a constantly protective state against stressors that they’re incurring during the school day, whether that be taking an exam, trying to fit in with peers or speaking in front of classmates.”

Roemmich says his study is the first to show that moderate-intensity exercise can reduce children’s cardiovascular reactivity during later, stressful activities. The research builds on his earlier work, which demonstrated that higher-intensity interval exercise could afford similar protection in children. read the rest here.

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Maria Kang

About Maria Kang

Maria Kang has been in the fitness industry for over 13 years as a personal trainer, fitness manager, competitor, writer and founder of a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Fitness without Borders and Mom-ME fitness club. Besides writing and working out, she enjoys getting active with her three sons.
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