There’s more to walking besides burning calories and building strength
There’s an accessible, easy, and absolutely free exercise that will do your health more good 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 vast. Safe, convenient, and no need for gym equipment—if you want to transform your health, a simple walk within your vicinity could be the best 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 2014 study found that people who are suffering from chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and breast cancer 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 percent less likely to die, 24 percent of which were less likely to die from heart disease.
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, a15-minute walk half an hour after each meal is better for the 24-hour blood sugar control compared to your daily 45-minute walk.
High blood pressure and high cholesterol reduction
The activity 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 in 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 the abdominal and back muscles. The results proved that a brisk walk and strength training exercises had “similar reductions in pain and disability” after the participants worked out for twice a week.
A complete mood changer
“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 30 minutes on a treadmill is enough to lift the mood of someone suffering from depression.
Increased life expectancy
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 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.”