The Health Benefits of Daily Walking
Daily walking has tremendous health benefits. Next time you jump in your car, and park close to a store - think again. Instead park much further back, because even short walks can benefit you.
Daily walking is easy, almost too easy. That’s why it’s health benefits are taken for granted. It moves your body from point A to point B. But there is also a health component that you must know about.
Let’s find out how good walking really is.
15 minutes per day, to increase life expectancy
But first, let's start with the bad news. Inactivity can lead to:
- 25% increase in heart disease
- 45% increase in cardiovascular disease mortality
- 10% increase in the incidence of cancer, diabetes, and depression
But, walking daily can offset all of that.
Both 15 or 30 minutes of brisk walking a day showed a 3 year extension of life expectancy. Which means you only need to find 15 minutes daily to receive it’s benefits
Need to shorten your exercise time below 15 minutes, then take a quick run.
A 5 minute run creates the same benefits as a 15 minute walk. Now you only need to find 5 minutes a day.
Running only 5-10 minutes a day helps:
- reduced mortality by 30%
- cardiovascular disease by 45%
- could add 3 years of life expectancy
Daily walking or runnning, you decide!
This huge study of 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers found something interesting. Runners were performing with vigorous intensity, while walkers performed with moderate intensity. But under both intensities, they found similar results.
There was a reductions in the risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes for both running and walking.
Plus the more people walked or ran, the more health benefits they received.
Walking reduces hereditary weight gain
Harvard medical school reports walking just one hour a day cut the effects of hereditary weight-promoting genes in half. Plus it helps reduce cravings for chocolate, and sugary snacks.
It also reduces the amount of breast cancer in women by 14%, when the women walked 7 or more hours each week.
Furthermore, they state that walking eases joint pain, and it can prevent arthritis from even forming with 5-6 miles each week. Plus, walking boosts immune function with only 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, amounting to 43% less required sick days.
Improves mood and slows mental decline
According to arthritis.org, walking even improves mood. They state that a California State University study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were. Because during a walk, "natural pain killers (endorphins) are release in the body.
Another study found that just 12 minutes of walking resulted in an increase in joviality, vigor, attentiveness and self-confidence versus the same time spent sitting. Walking in nature, specifically, was found to reduce ruminating over negative experiences, which lowered the risk of depression.
Arthritis.org also states that walking slows mental decline. That age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. Women who walked 2.5 miles per day had a 17-percent decline in memory, as opposed to women who walked less than 1/2 a mile per week who had a 25-percent decline.
They even state that men between the ages of 71 and 93 who walked more than a 1/4 mile a day had 50% less dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, compared to those who didn't.
Burns those extra calories
According to calorielab.com, walking for pleasure burns 170 calories an hour.
Walking 5 times a week would burn an extra 850 calories. Walking 4 weeks in a row would burn 3,400 calories every month. Without any other lifestyle changes that would amount to a weight loss of 1 pound a month.
But, walking on a grass track nearly doubles the effort. In this case it would burn 270 calories an hour. Walking 5 days a week, for 4 weeks in a row, would result in a weight loss of 1.5 pounds a month.
Walking encourages ideas
According to One Stanford University study, Walking even opens up the free flow of ideas, and increases creative output by an average of 60%.
They call this type of creativity “divergent thinking,” which is creating ideas by exploring many possible solutions.
Even anxiety is relieved with just a 10-minute walk. Because engaging in another activity frees the mind to wander, and receive idea solutions to improve current circumstances.
Lack of walking raises health care costs
It even costs more when you don't exercise, like walking regularly. You pay for it with additional health care costs.
The study shows that inadequate levels of aerobic physical activity had an estimated 11.1% of health care expenditures. While inadequate levels of regular physical activity like walking were associated with 8.7% of health care expenditures.
Being active increases brain size
More specifically increased aerobic activity and fitness may have a positive effect on the size of the hippocampus. Which is the small region of the brain that forms part of the limbic system and is primarily associated with memory and spatial navigation.
Walk short amounts, more often
This study suggests that "interrupting sitting time with frequent brief bouts of light-intensity activity, but not standing, enhances cardio-metabolic health."
Walking in nature is healthy
This study found that across England, people living in greener areas engage in slightly higher levels of recreational walking. They also have slightly lower rates of premature mortality.
They found that 7% of depression cases and 9% of high blood pressure cases could be prevented if all city residents were to visit green spaces at least once a week, for an average duration of 30 minutes or more.
Walking reduces body fat
This article states that "vigorous regular walking resulted in a reduction of body fat stores, endogenous insulin requirements, and food intake, and perhaps improved the ability to eliminate cholestrol by increasing the plasma high density lipoprotein fraction."
The benefits just go on and on. Walking is an asset in your life. Get up, and get out there today!
Even pollution can't offset walking benefits
Worried that walking in a city will do more harm that good. Don't, it would take quite a bit of daily walking to do so.
This article states that even walking in cities with higher pollution won't offset the benefits of cycling or walking. They found that the tipping point would only be reached after 7 h of cycling and 16 h of walking per day.
Walking is your path to health
As you can see walking is a powerhouse of health benefits.
Plus, it doesn't take any longer that 15-30 minutes a day. Even shorter if you want to replace some of that walking with running.
It reduces body fat, improves mood, pushes away cancers, alleviates depression, lowers health care costs, and possibly increases life expectancy.
Start by walking 5 minutes a day consistently, and work your way up to 30 minutes.
I load my phone with recordings and podcasts to listen to while walking. The time fly's by, and I am able to stay lean and trim. Plus I always feel great when I am finished.
Give it a try today! You'll be very happy that you did!
Walking is healthy, start by adding it back into your life.
Discover Even More:
Article : 5 Surprising benefits of walking
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Tool : Calories used by walking
Research : Give your ideas some legs
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