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Walk Off Weight, Turn Off Fat Genes

Walk Off Weight, Turn Off Fat Genes

Around 10,000 people have walked the 2,181 mile-long Appalachian Trail from Springer Mountain, Ga., to Maine's Mount Katahdin. In contrast, more than 100 million North Americans don't get any physical activity for even 10 minutes a day! Many of those folks, plus another 100 million or more, are overweight.

Not surprising, when you consider that weight gain is often a result of not enough healthy activity and too much unhealthy food. For some folks, such bad habits are even more damaging because they have a genetic tendency to gain weight. The good news is genes can be switched on or off, depending on lifestyle choices.

If you get up and move, you can actually turn off the genes that promote weight gain. Walking (the single best physical activity to achieve a younger RealAge and stay stress-free) for just an hour a day can slash your genetic predisposition for obesity in half. Our recommendation? Walk at least a total of 10,000 steps a day. Start slow, but aim to hit the 10,000 mark within a month or so. You'll be surprised at how easy this becomes. It's even easier if you do it with a workout buddy.

No time to exercise?
Here's how to step it up even further:

  • Eat plenty of fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean protein.
  • Choose unsaturated fats, such as olive oil.
  • Get enough omega-3 fatty acids a day to equal 900 milligrams. (Take supplements from algae.)
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Sleep at least 7 hours a night (many folks need 8). It helps keep off extra pounds.

Medically reviewed in September 2019.

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