We strive to do it from the moment we can crawl. People don’t typically think twice about the health benefits of walking down to a friend’s house or walking to school to watch a game. Walking is often thought of an as an inconvenience and indeed often overlooked as a tool for health maintenance.
Studies have shown something as simple as walking 30 to 60 minutes a day can be extremely beneficial for your mind, body, and spirit and can help you live a longer, healthier life.
There have been many studies that have shown just how important walking can be to your health. A study performed at Harvard University of over 10,000 men linked walking at least 9 miles a week to a 22% lower death rate, and a study of over 72,000 women nurses showed a 35% lower risk of coronary disease and a 34% lower risk of suffering a stroke.
A Honolulu study that followed 8000 men over 12 years showed that walking 2 miles a days can cut your risk of death nearly in half – especially from cancer. These men were also less likely to die in the following 12 years after the study concluded.
It’s clear that regular walking can positively impact factors such as length of life and occurrence of cancer. But why is that? Let’s look at exactly how walking can improve your health:
Walking can help you lose weight and keep it off
Weight around the middle part of your body is especially dangerous to your health, so doing something that contributes to level it off is important. You still have to watch what you eat to get the most out of a weight loss program, but adding walking to the routine will help to keep the weight off after reaching your goal. By taking 2000 or more steps a day, your body will continue to keep burning fat to help prevent weight gain. You can easily keep track of your steps by wearing a pedometer.
Walking can help to lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
By adding just 30 minutes of walking into your day, you can help your body naturally fight off these conditions.
By walking with a few simple techniques in mind, you can burn as many calories as if you were jogging.
Keeping your posture straight while holding your ribcage and stomach in, will add a nice midriff workout to your daily walking routine. Try swiveling your hips slightly while walking to help make you move a bit faster and work some extra muscles.
Walking can help boost brain power
Walking has long been known to increase the blood flow to your brain, as well as reduce the inevitable age-related shrinkage of the section of your brain called the Hippocampus. This area is involved in the processing of memory, emotion, and motivation. Two studies following the walking programs of people over the age of 60 found that participating in a routine of walking 30 to 60 minutes a day made them mentally sharper than they were before the program (1999), and after a year’s time they improved their spatial memory skills (2011).
Walking with a friend can help keep you motivated to stick with your routine.
We know that surrounding yourself with others who have the same desires and goals out of life will contribute to keep you motivated to stay on your chosen path. Whether it’s walking with fellow students on campus; a “coffee club” of friends in the mall; or a neighbor who enjoys your company, walking with others will help to keep you on task. You are more likely to skip that daily walk if you don’t have a support system working for you!