There’s more to walking besides burning calories and building strength

By Klyde Manansala | Photo by Matthew Feeney/Unsplash

Signing up in a gym could be intimidating sometimes, especially if you just started working out. But you don’t always have to pay thousands of money in a nearby gym just to stay fit. There’s an accessible, easy, and absolutely free exercise that will do your health good more than you expect it to: walking.

Whether it’s just an hour of walking with some colleagues, the benefits you could gain from it are extremely vast. Safe, convenient, and doesn’t require any gym equipment— if you really aim to transform your health, a simple walk in the park could be the start. Here are a few scientific findings behind the benefits of walking:

Good for The Arteries

A five-minute walk, that’s all it takes. If your job requires  you to sit all day in front of a computer, it’s best to take a short walk every hour just so you can prevent yourself from suffering endothelial dysfunction—the reduced ability of your arteries to relax and contract, which could potentially lead to increased cardiovascular problems.

An Aid to Chronic Diseases

A study in 2014 found that people who are suffering from chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and the like were “half as likely to die during a one-year period” when they often engage in walking compared to those who rarely hit the streets. Another study on more than 50,000 adults who walked regularly at a quick pace were about 20% less likely to die, 24% of which were less likely to die from heart disease.

“A study in 2014 found that people who are suffering from chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, and the like were “half as likely to die during a one-year period” when they often engage in walking

Blood Sugar Control

Walking after meals could help control blood sugar especially if you’re an inactive aged person with prediabetes. According to a study, walking for 15 minutes half an hour after each meal is better for the 24-hour blood sugar control compared to a 45-minute walk everyday.

Reduces High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol

Walking can also reduce the risk of suffering from high blood pressure and high cholesterol. A 2013 study said that there’s a greater risk reduction on developing these kinds of ailments the farther a person walks.

Alternative Strength Training for Chronic Low Back Pain

 Based on a study in Clinical Rehabilitation, walking can be an alternative strength training program for people suffering from chronic low back pain as it also targets their abdominal and back muscles. The results of the study proved that walking briskly and doing strength training exercises had the “similar reductions in pain and disability” after the participants worked out for twice a week.

“Walking can be an alternative strength training program for people suffering from chronic low back pain as it also targets their abdominal and back muscles

A Complete Mood Changer 

A study from Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports found that a good 30-minute walk with a group of people could “increase enthusiasm and relaxation” “can reduce stress.”

“Lunchtime walks improved enthusiasm, relaxation, and nervousness at work, although the pattern of results differed depending on whether between-group or within-person analyses were conducted,” the study said. Another study also found out that even a half an hour walk on a treadmill is just enough to lift the mood of someone suffering from depression.

Overall, Walking Can Help You Live Longer

An American Journal of Preventive Medicine study suggested that people who walked 150 minutes a week or more had a 20 percent lower risk of premature death as compared to those who rarely walked.

“Those who reported getting no activity at all were 26 percent more likely to have died. Those who got got between 2.5 and five hours of physical activity a week, on the other hand, had a 20 percent lower risk of death.”

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