Some people might think it takes vigorous exercise, such as running, swimming or weight lifting, to see real results related to health and physical fitness—but research is increasingly showing that simply walking can have a profound health benefits.

For massage therapists, who engage in very physical work, a walk in the park could be just what’s needed to stay in good shape to maintain a massage career.

A person’s genetic tendency toward obesity can be cut in half by walking briskly for an hour a day, researchers reported at the American Heart Association‘s Epidemiology and Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism 2012 Scientific Sessions.

“In our study, a brisk one-hour daily walk reduced the genetic influence towards obesity, measured by differences in BMI by half,” said Qibin Qi, Ph.D., study author and a post doctorate research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts. “On the other hand, a sedentary lifestyle marked by watching television four hours a day increased the genetic influence by 50 percent.”

How the function of these genes affect BMI isn’t clear, Qi said. “These genes were just identified in the past five years and the exact functions of the genetic variants are still unknown. Future studies will be needed to uncover the underlying mechanisms.”

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