No matter your fitness level, walking 10-15 minutes daily can have significant health benefits, both long and short term.
All of us at some point in our lives have taken a long walk just to clear our head, listen to our thoughts, and calm ourselves down. While it seems like the easiest possible way to get a simple workout, we tend to forget the actual, life-changing benefits walking can have on your health.
Walking quickens heartbeat, circulates more blood and oxygen to the muscles and organs. Experts say a 30-minute walk at a moderate speed can burn 15-200 calories. The researchers have spent quite some time and resources to figure out how walking helps. Read on to learn about the incredible health benefits of walking.
According to Harvard Medical School, walking for just 2.5 hours a week can lessen the risk of heart disease by 30%. Regular walking can reduce the risk of a heart attack, lower LDL (bad) cholesterol, and raise (good) HDL cholesterol, lower blood pressure, help manage weight, and improve mood. Walking increases heartbeat, which is a good thing as it delivers more oxygen and nutrients to other organs.
Another benefit of walking is that it helps battle obesity. As published on KUER, a study conducted in 2014 by the University Of Utah found that in women, 15-20 minutes of brisk walking every day can decrease the risk of obesity by 5%. According to Harvard Medical School, walking can cut the effects of obesity-promoting genes by half.
It is a proven fact that walking definitely helps to control high blood pressure. Researchers from Arizona State University found that walking for ten minutes every day is an effective way to lower high blood pressure. Another study from Korea showed that walking just 40 minutes a day lowered blood pressure in people with hypertension. Walking makes the heart stronger, which lowers the force on the arteries, and ends up lowering the blood pressure.
American Diabetes Association has confirmed that walking is an extremely effective way to curb diabetes. The exercise includes slow walking for 3 to 5 minutes a day followed by 5 to 10 minutes of brisk walking. Experts suggest, to see better results, walking 30 minutes a day or 2400 steps a day reduces the risk of suffering from diabetes considerably.
With each passing day, cancer is becoming one of the biggest reasons of death annually. According to a study conducted by the Harvard University Women's Health Study in 2012, it was found that walking for one to three hours a week reduces the risk of death from breast cancer by almost 19%. If women walked for three to five hours a week, they could reduce the risk of breast and uterine cancer to almost 54%. A study conducted by the American Cancer Society found that walking up to 7 hours a week reduces the risk of breast cancer itself by 14%.
Exercise is a great way to increase brain activity, but walking in specific can increase memory retention capability of the human brain. A 2011 study published in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences showed how walking for 40 minutes at a stretch three times a week could increase the volume of the hippocampus by 2%. Another study conducted in 2014 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science showed that regular brisk walks can slow down the shrinking of the brain and the faltering mental skills that old age often brings.
A study conducted in 2014 by the American Medical Association showed that walking from an early age can help stay agile, mobile, and independent during old age. A study conducted between people aged 70 and 89 for 2.5 years showed that the group of adults which exercised regularly were 28% less likely to become disabled and also 18% less likely to have any episode of physical disability.
Many people have a habit to overeat when they are stressed. Experts have said that walking is one of the best ways to kick your stress eating habits to the curb. But it goes without saying that only walking won't help to curb this habit. Along with walking, it is important to meditate, get good sleep and walk around 10,000 steps a day. Experts have also said that stress eating is an underlying symptom of an emotional or psychological problem. Walking releases a hormone called endorphin which lowers the cortisol level in the body, which helps to put a stop to stress eating.