There’s no other way to say this, folks: walking is good for your health. It is the most basic and accessible activity for people of all ages and fitness levels. Walking is free and you can easily incorporate it into your daily routine. All you need is a good pair of shoes, a little time, and the desire to experience the health benefits that we’ll cover in this article.
Although walking is low-impact, it is a moderately intense form of aerobic exercise that works your cardiovascular system. Well, you have to move at a certain pace that gets your heart rate going, but don’t have to replicate those speed walkers in the Olympics. That means that in order for walking to be a physical activity, you need to be moving with a minor sense of urgency. It should elevate your heart rate but not make you collapse. When you get a steady pace going, a 30-minute walk per day can be a great form of exercise. You may even experience the following health benefits.
May Help Lower Your Blood Sugar
When you take a short walk after you eat, you may naturally lower blood sugar levels. A small study found that taking a 15-minute walk three times a day, after breakfast, lunch, and dinner, improved blood sugar levels more than a single 45-minute walk during the day. More research is necessary to confirm the findings from that study. If you eat a heavy meal, though, consider taking a post-meal walk to help fit more exercise into your day and to help balance blood sugar levels.
Reduces Breast Cancer Risk
How does walking specifically reduce the risk of breast cancer? Well, researchers know that any type of physical activity reduces the risk of breast cancer. An American Cancer Society study concluded that walking seven or more hours per week reduced the risk of breast cancer by 14%, compared to the women who walked three hours per week or less. Walking this much even offered protection for women with breast cancer risk factors, including those who were overweight or taking supplemental hormones.
Boosts Immune Function
Any time you can incorporate more movement into your day, your overall health benefits. Several studies indicate that the practice of physical activities can enhance immune function, which means your body may respond better to foreign invaders. In the case of walking, one study tracked 1,000 adults that walked at a moderate pace for 30-45 minutes per day during flu season. They had to use 43% fewer sick days and experienced fewer upper respiratory tract infections. Those who did get sick had minor symptoms compared to other sedentary adults in the same study.
Contributes To Creative Thinking
Do you ever just go for a walk to clear your mind? It’s a great way to hit the reset button and develop more organized thoughts. As it turns out, one study found that a walk may ignite that creative spark. The study included four experiments and compared them to people trying to think of new ideas while walking or sitting. The researchers observed that participants performed better while walking, specifically while walking outdoors. Walking helps your ideas flow freely and in a simple way that’s easier for your brain to digest. Plus, there’s the added benefit of incorporating more physical activity into your day!
Counteract The Effects Of Weight-Promoting Genes
Walking is a great way to help you burn calories, provided you are moving with some gusto. If you are trudging along, then the physical benefits are very minimal or non-existent. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people in order to determine how much the genes influenced total body weight. Among the participants in the study, the researchers noticed that those who walked briskly for about one hour a day cut the effects of those genes in half.