Walk More Live Longer
Daily walking is one of the best things you can do for your health. It has a plethora of health benefits as it’s a great way to improve and maintain your overall health. Walking as little as 30 minutes a day can improve your heart health, strengthens bones, reduce body fat, increase muscle power and endurance. It has been shown to alleviate depression, fatigue, improve mood, create less stress on joints, prevent weight gain, reduce the risk for cancer and chronic disease, improve endurance, circulation, posture and well, the list goes on.
The best part is, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits more in-depth:
– Researchers found that walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and cut the risk of dying by 32%. Protection was evident even at distances of just 5½ miles per week and at a pace as casual as about 2 miles per hour. The people who walked longer distances or walked at a faster pace or both enjoyed the greatest protection.
– There is also evidence that months of regular exercise improved people’s cognitive function, Walking also has been shown to improve your creativity. One Stanford University study found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent. According to the study, “walking opens up the free flow of ideas, and it is a simple and robust solution to the goals of increasing creativity and increasing physical activity.” Studies show that engaging in activities that allow our minds to wander promotes a mental state conducive to innovative ideas and “ah-ha!” moments. So if you’re having trouble with a project either at work or home try a walk next time.
– Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain and, that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects your joints by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
– Walking can help protect you during the cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.
– One study found that just 12 minutes of walking resulted in an increase in vigor, attentiveness, and self-confidence versus the same time spent sitting. Walking in nature, specifically, was found to reduce ruminating over negative experiences, which increases activity in the brain associated with negative emotions and raises the risk of depression. Walking has also been shown to improve memory and prevent the deterioration of brain tissue as we age. Plus, psychologists studying how exercise relieves anxiety and depression also suggest that a 10-minute walk may be just as good as a 45-minute workout when it comes to relieving the symptoms of anxiety and boosting mood.
Make walking fun by going to places you enjoy, like a shopping center or park. Bring along someone to chat with, or listen to some of your favorite music or even better create moments of solitude by being by yourself. Think about safety as you plan when and where to walk. Walk with others when possible, and take a phone and ID with you. Let someone know your walking time and route. If it’s dark outside, wear a reflective vest or brightly colored clothing. And always be aware of your surroundings.
Written By: Nic Bronkall LMT, CSCS