According to Statistics Canada, walking is our most popular leisure-time activity: 72.4% of Canadians surveyed reported walking during their leisure time.
If you don’t walk already – well, there’s no time like the present to start. The research shows that walking helps almost everybody, especially those who were previously physically inactive.
A recent study had sedentary employees take a 30-minute stroll during their lunch break, three times a week. The results were positive and immediate: they returned to work feeling less tense, more relaxed and more enthusiastic about their jobs.
Another study looked at the effect of short, intermittent bouts of walking on older adults with postprandial hyperglycemia, or PPHG, the medical term for high blood sugar following a meal. Walking on a treadmill for 15 minutes three times a week proved to be an effective way of controlling their blood sugar increase.
The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits. Women who walk briskly for more than three hours a week have been shown to lower their risk for heart disease. And an American Cancer Society study found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week.
A brisk daily walk can add years to your life. Research presented at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress revealed that walking for 20 to 25 minutes a day triggers an anti-aging process and helps repair old DNA.
One of the best things about walking is that when you’re walking, you’re not sitting. Sitting for more than eight hours a day is associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
7 Benefits of Makikng Walking Part of Your Regular Exercise Routine
1. Helps you lose weight.
Walking for 30 minutes at 2 mph will burn 75 calories; up that to 4 mph and you’ll lose 150 calories, or the equivalent of 2 chocolate chip cookies.
2. Prevents and/or manages various conditions.
It reduces your chances of developing type 2 diabetes by 60% and lowers the risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast or womb.
3. Strengthens your heart.
A brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27%.
4. Strengthens your bones and muscles.
Movement helps build up your bones, making it less likely that they’ll break. It also improves your balance and flexibility, which can keep you from falling down.
5. Helps to keep your brain healthy.
Older people who walk six miles or more per week are more likely to avoid brain shrinkage and preserve memory as they age.
6. Boosts your immunity.
A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less.
7. Improves your mood.
Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety.