Walking has many benefits, but most of us still ignore it. You will be surprised to know how walking regularly helps your body live longer.
Walking helps us to deal with significant problems such as chronic diseases, blood pressure, bad immune system, excess weight and body fat, and cholesterol. It also helps us to reduce depression and improve our mood. People who regularly include walking in their routine get the highest benefits compared to those with limited physical activity.
5 Benefits of Walking
These are the five scientifically proven walking benefits associated with our body and life expectancy.
# 1. Reduces the Risk of Chronic Diseases and Blood Pressure
Today, so many chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s, heart disease, and diabetes affect people’s health across the world. According to an estimate, almost 41 million die annually due to various chronic diseases. Walking should be your regular activity if you want to keep yourself safe from chronic diseases.
According to the research published in the National Library of Medicine, it is observed that there is conclusive evidence that physical inactivity alone is sufficient to increase chronic diseases and death. The research further says that physical inactivity increases mortality by 30%, or by 720,000 annual deaths, which equals one death every 44 seconds.
It is also observed that if you are walking around 10,000 steps a day, then it helps reduce your blood pressure.
# 2. Helps to Improve the Immune System
The recent Covid 19 pandemic has shown us that we need a solid immunity to fight the viruses out there. As we all know, a person having low immunity has a higher chance of frequent infections. Walking is one of the best options to improve your overall immunity and strengthen your immune system.
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“In the long term, regular exercise slows down changes that happen to the immune system with aging, therefore reducing the risk of infections.” as per the research of the University of Bath.
20 minutes a day five days a week walk is recommended to improve your immune system.
# 3. Reduces Weight and Body Fat, and Cholesterol
The data from the world health organization shows that more than 1.9 billion adults were overweight in 2016 and further. The problem is increasing rapidly every year, and 20% of the global adult population will have obesity by 2025, as per estimates.
Regular walking is the solution to avoiding obesity and losing weight. It also helps to reduce cholesterol. 12 Weeks walking schedule by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is shared below. A brisk walk is about 3 miles an hour.
|Week 1||5 minutes||5 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 2||5 minutes||7 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 3||5 minutes||9 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 4||5 minutes||11 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 5||5 minutes||13 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 6||5 minutes||15 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 7||5 minutes||18 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 8||5 minutes||20 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 9||5 minutes||23 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 10||5 minutes||26 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 11||5 minutes||28 minutes||5 minutes|
|Week 12||5 minutes||30 minutes||5 minutes|
The study published in the National Library of Medicine says that “Total body fat is lost through walking at both slow and fast speeds tested in our study, but the change is more clear, rapid, and greater in overweight–obese slow walkers, and therefore slow walking would be preferable in subjects with greater starting body fatness.”
Thus, regular walking in your routine is highly recommended to stay fit and avoid excess body fat or cholesterol.
Amit Khera, MD, director of the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center’s Program in Preventive Cardiology, says, “Lots of people, even lots of doctors, assume that exercise lowers cholesterol,” “But until recently, most of us weren’t sure just what the connection was.”
# 4. Helps to Reduce the Risk of Depression
There are many causes of depression like stressful events, loneliness, family history, etc. The data from the World health organization states that almost 5% of the global population suffers from depression. It is becoming a huge problem, and ultimately depression can lead to suicide, but fortunately, several effective treatments are available for depression.
Walking helps us maintain a perfect physical body and is ideal for mental health. Our brain releases the feel-good chemicals called endorphins whenever we do the walking activity. It makes us feel better and thus avoids the chances of depression.
The experiment done on 3,000 people published in JAMA Psychiatry showed that “2.5 hours of brisk walking per week was associated with 25% lower risk of depression, and at half that dose, the risk was 18% lower compared with no activity.”
Regular walking is a great way to reduce the risk of depression and live a happy life.
# 5. Helps to Relieve Stress & Improve Mood
Walking activity has so many benefits that it is not only associated with our physical or mental health but also helps to improve our emotional health. Stress is a significant cause of anxiety, leading to depression; thus, it is essential to living a stress-free life if you want to live longer and healthier.
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As we have seen, endorphins are released while doing physical activity. Endorphins are associated with the feel-good factor, and when released in the brain, it helps your brain reduce the perception of pain.
As per the study published in the National Library of Medicine, “A 10-minute bout of brisk walking and meditation both improved mood state, compared to an inactive control group. A single bout of brisk walking or meditation may offer suitable strategies to improve mood state among young adults.”
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Experts recommend that you can start walking from as low as 10 minutes a day and gradually increase the time up to 150 minutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
I hope you have enough reasons to start walking as it is directly associated with longer life and many health benefits. Let’s see the answers to the frequently asked questions.
Walking daily can help reduce the risk of chronic diseases and blood pressure. It is scientifically proven that walking helps us to maintain good health. Walking also reduces weight, body fat, cholesterol, and the risk of depression. It helps to improve the immune system and mood and relieve stress.
Most experts recommend walking for at least 10 minutes daily instead of focusing on the distance. The distance will differ from person to person, but the little walk of 10 minutes is good to start. You can gradually increase it up to 150 minutes.
According to the experts, 1 hour of regular walking is more than enough to get the benefits. However, if you have any health issues, first consult your doctor before doing any intense exercise such as walking.
Walking at a faster pace is helpful considering the long-term health benefits. You can start walking at a regular pace and then gradually increase your walking speed.
You will be able to see some quick results even after 10 minutes of walking, but some results might take a long time, up to 3 to 4 months. That’s why experts recommend regular walking to see the results at particular intervals.
It is scientifically proven that walking helps to reduce weight and body fat. However, you will have to make it a habit of walking regularly to see the results in improved body shape and fitness levels.
Walking is a very underrated activity but regular walking has many benefits. As per the data, less than 150 million people in the United States are walking for fitness. It is a multi-beneficial activity, and it should be part of our daily routine as it is not only associated with our physical health, but it is beneficial in improving our mental and emotional health.
Most people believe walking is time-consuming, but it is not true. You can inculcate walking in your day-to-day life by following some essential habits. It may include walking inside the premises while you are talking. Spend as little as 10-15 minutes in the morning or at your convenience. The idea is simple: make sure you are walking whenever and enjoy it. It should not be a burden on you.
Walking helps us live longer by fighting the problems affecting our mortality. I am sure you will make walking a routine and encourage others to do the same. Do let me know in the comments what kind of benefits you have personally experienced from the walking activity.
Featured photo by Vidar Nordli-Mathisen
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