Walking is the most common activity we all do every day. However, we are not aware enough of all the benefits this seemingly ordinary activity can provide to our health. It is especially important to walk more as we age because it can lower the risk of various health issues and even death rate among the elderly.
One study has examined all the benefits of walking regularly and the lead researcher stated: “Age is not an excuse to do no exercise. It is well established that regular physical activity has a better overall effect on health than any medical treatment. But less than half of older adults achieve the recommended minimum of 150 minutes’ moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity exercise each week.”
Regular walking for only 15 minutes daily for 12 years lowered the mortality rate by 22% in adults over 65. Scientists have researched the effects of walking for a long time and found that it provides countless benefits.
Being an aerobic exercise, it stimulates the heart and respiratory rates to pump additional oxygen to muscles, supports the cardiovascular, respiratory, and circulatory operations, and transports the nutrients where they are needed.
Also, the energy is used instead of being stored, and the bones, muscles, and organs, are strengthened.
We are prone to illness if we lead a sedentary lifestyle, and low levels of physical activity have risen the number of cases of “sedentary death syndrome” patients, which is a very real condition that has been deemed “a major public health burden due to its causing multiple chronic diseases and millions of premature deaths each year.”
Another 2016 study revealed that increasing the amount of walking for obese children to 45 minutes daily, 5 days a week, increased the capacity of their lungs in just 6 weeks.
Moreover, the fitness level is more improved by fast walking interspersed with a slow walk, than by walking at a continual pace.
Also, walking outdoors offers other benefits as well, as it supports mental health, reduces stress, improves mood, and treats depression symptoms. Sunshine also optimizes the vitamin D levels in the body, which is highly needed for overall health, and the strength of the muscles and bones.
However, studies have shown that walking indoors is highly beneficial as well, as it triggers almost the same effects in terms of creative responses and improved mental activity.
Regular walking lowers the risk of injuries and improves mobility, it strengthens the bones and connective tissue, boosts the blood and nutrient supplies.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, “If you don’t walk, joints are deprived of life-giving fluid, which can speed deterioration.”
Furthermore, the American Heart Association advises at least 30minutes of walking daily, or 150 of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week, as an effective way to lower the risk of hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, and stroke.
They recommend starting slowly and gradually increasing the duration and pace.
Also, walking can solve your troubles sleeping. Namely, the Sleep Foundation reviewed a study which discovered impressive effects of this activity. Apparently, “…a bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (e.g., walking) reduced the time it took to fall asleep and increased the length of sleep of people with chronic insomnia compared to a night in which they did not exercise.”
The findings of a meta-analysis of studies of walking from 7 countries which lasted for about 11 years showed that regular walking reduced the incidence of cardiovascular events by 31% and lowered mortality risk by 32%.
Scientists maintain that walking as little as 5.5 miles a week at 2mph prevents most serious diseases.
Well, not all of us have the time or money to hit the gym, but most of us have enough time to walk. Just get yourself a decent pair of shoes, and walk for at least 15 minutes daily, to reap all the amazing benefits of walking!