We all know the importance of regular exercise and the crucial impact it has on our mental, physical, and emotional health. Despite all of these benefits, some days you just don’t have time to squeeze in a workout.
Thankfully, new studies have shown that walking at least fifteen minutes every day can add seven years to your life. One study followed sixty-nine people between the ages of 30-60 and found that those who engaged in daily moderate exercise, such as walking, experienced anti-aging benefits. So, if you know you won’t be able to do your regular workout due to an early morning meeting, taking a 15-minute walk on your lunch break or after dinner could get you the same benefits.
Walking For Heart Health: The Link Between Walking and Cardiovascular Health
The following findings are from three Harvard studies (2) on walking and cardiovascular health:
- Among 10,269 male graduates of Harvard College, walking at least nine miles a week was linked to a 22% lower death rate.
- Among 44,452 male health professionals, walking at least 30 minutes a day was linked to an 18% lower risk of coronary artery disease.
- Among 72,488 female nurses, walking at least three hours a week was linked to a 35% lower risk of heart attack and cardiac death and a 34% lower risk of stroke.
Is Walking a Good Exercise? Here Are the 6 Benefits of Walking Everyday
1. Walking Boosts Your Mood
Did you know that walking can positively boost your mood… without you even realizing it?(4) A 2016 study found that walking for just twelve minutes resulted in an increase in attentiveness and self-confidence (3).
2. Walking Improves Cognitive Performance
One study (5) concluded that there seems to be a link between walking (at a preferred speed) and cognitive performance in both children and adults.
3. Walking Lowers Blood Pressure
Studies have shown (6) how moderate intensity walking can help lower the risk of high blood pressure.
4. Walking Can Help Prevent or Control Diabetes
According to the results from the Harvard Nurses’ Health Study, women who walked at least thirty minutes daily, decreased their risk of diabetes by 30%. Walking has proven to be effective at shrinking dangerous abdominal fat that can cause diabetes.
5. Walking Can Help Reduce Risk of Cancer
A research study done by Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention (8) found that women who walked at least seven hours per week were 14% less likely to develop breast cancer. Scientists at the University of California, San Francisco and Harvard University (9), found that men who had prostate cancer and who walked at least three hours a week reduced their chances of a recurrence.
6. Walking Can Help Reduce Pain and Improve Mobility
In an article by the American Heart Association (10), they explain how walking can significantly improve mobility loss for people with peripheral artery disease (PAD).
How to Make The Most Out of Your Walk: Walking Exercise Tips
- Swing your arms: bend them at 90 degrees and pump from the shoulders. This allows for a quicker pace and provides a workout for your upper body (11).
- Wear comfortable shoes: look for flexible soles and stiff heels, or any cushioned, lightweight, and low-heeled shoes. Try to avoid stiff soled shoes that don’t bend (11).
- Make sure your posture is correct: you should look straight ahead with your chin parallel to the ground. Also, keep your shoulders down and back and away from your ears.
- Picking the right pace: to burn more calories, you should be walking at least 3.5 miles an hour. Tip: take smaller, faster steps to speed up).
- Try an incline walk: for an even more fat-blasting workout try walking up small hills, up and down stairs, or on a treadmill with the incline up
9 Easy Ways Walk More
- Walk to work or school
- When taking public transit, get off a few stops before your destination
- Take the stairs instead of the elevators
- Park far away as opposed to the closest parking spot and then walk to wherever you’re going
- Go for a quick walk after lunch instead of just sitting around for the whole time
- Go for a walk right after dinner, you can make it a family event and have the whole family tag along
- Try “walk and talk” meetings at work
- Instead of sitting down and listening to a podcast, walk and listen to a podcast
- Walk your dog or walk with a friend or family’s dog
The benefits of walking daily are astronomical, it positively affects both your mental and physical state, leaving your mind and body happier and healthier! You may not be able to incorporate walking 5 miles in a day into your schedule, but just 15 minutes of walking can completely change your life. So grab your shoes, like these great sneakers, and your music and start moving those legs!
- Harvard Health Publications. (2009, August). Walking: Your steps to health. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/Walking-Your-steps-to-health
- DiSalvo, D. (2016, October 31). Six Reasons Why Walking Is The Daily Brain Medicine We Really Need. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2016/10/30/six-reasons-why-walking-is-the-daily-brain-medicine-we-really-need/#2cb3146752b8
- Miller, J. C., & Krizan, Z. (2016, August). Walking facilitates positive affect (even when expecting the opposite). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27100368
- Schaefer, %., Lindenberger, U., & Wieckhorst, B. (2009, June 16). Cognitive performance is improved while walking: Differences in cognitive–sensorimotor couplings between children and young adults. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17405620802535666?journalCode=pedp20&
- Walking can lower risk of heart-related conditions as much as running. (2013, April 4). Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://newsroom.heart.org/news/walking-can-lower-risk-of-heart-related-conditions-as-much-as-running
- Hildebrand, J. S., Gapstur, S. M., & Campbell, P. T. (2013, October 01). Recreational Physical Activity and Leisure-Time Sitting in Relation to Postmenopausal Breast Cancer Risk. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/22/10/1906.short
- Orenstein, B. (2015, May 20). 10 Reasons to Go for a Walk Right Now. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/fitness-pictures/reasons-to-walk-your-way-to-health.aspx#06
- American Heart Association . (2015, May 20). Support group, home exercise improves mobility for PAD patients. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://newsroom.heart.org/news/support-group-home-exercise-improves-mobility-for-pad-patients?preview=df06
- Berkeley Wellness. (n.d.). Better Walking Workouts. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.berkeleywellness.com/fitness/exercise/slideshow/better-walking-workouts
- Crowe, A. (2013, December 4). 50 Ways to Walk More. Retrieved April 12, 2017, from http://www.wisebread.com/50-ways-to-walk-more
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