The health benefits of walking are numerous. For me walking really is the best medicine. It has helped me with so many things from eradicating my aches and pains, helping me to shift some weight and getting the head space I need after a hard day at work.
The health benefits of walking at any age include reducing your risk of premature death by almost a third, helping you stave off dementia in older age, helping your connect to your loved ones when you walk together, helping you to keep your heart strong to improving your mood.
So what are the health benefits of walking?
I’m going to start by telling you about a study which was conducted on 334,000 people so it’s not a small one! It was completed by the University of Cambridge in England. They found that just 20 minutes a day walking cuts your risk of premature death by up to a third.
That is with just 20 minutes so can you image if you walked more than that how much more your health would improve? The secret is really to walk as much as possible every day. Knowing that it will help you live a long and healthy life should have us walking as much as possible.
I know that it can be difficult fitting in exercise but that’s what is so great about walking, it’s something that we can sneak in a brisk walk at most times during the day. How about heading over to my post on how to increase your step count here.
As if reducing your risk of premature death by a third isn’t enough, below I’ve listed more ways health benefits of walking.
- Walking can help you fight dementia
I’m going to start again with a scientific study. I just want to show you that it’s not me saying this but there is scientific proof to why you should walk. A study from Canada have discovered a link between our brain function and low-level aerobic exercise.It was a smaller study with 38 adults who suffered from a cause of dementia called vascular cognitive impairment. this group of adults were monitored for six months and those who took brisk walks on a regular basis displayed improved levels of brain function. They were walking on average 3 hours per week.The researchers also suggested that anyone taking regular walks could help prevent developing vascular cognitive impairment in the first place.How that is worth walking an hour three times per week! Don’t you think?
- Walking an hour a day can also cut your risk of cancer
More scientific evidence to start. This time from America, more specifically the American Society for Clinical Oncology. They have suggested that walking is a great weapon to battle cancer with.The first study they conducted was looking at women who walked for 180 minutes per week after they had been diagnosed with breast cancer. They deduced that around the women who walked were half as likely to die from the disease as those who didn’t do any walking. The same study was conducted with people who had bowel cancer and they concluded the same.The researchers suggested that around 25 minutes of walking per day would deliver the same results that were outlined in the study. Again I challenge you to walk more than that each day.
- Walking 1 hour per day helps keep your heart strong
Walking briskly gets the blood pumping around your body. With that the heart gets stronger. I want to share with you another study, again to prove how walking an hour per day keeps your heart strong.A study which was first conducted way back in 1970 and then again in 2007 found that walking on a regular basis reduced the likelihood of suffering from a heart attack, angina, stroke, heart failure by up to 31 per cent.
Not only that but walking an hour a day can also keep your blood pressure at acceptable levels and this also reduces any risk you may have of getting a stroke by up to 27 per cent.
Worth walking an hour a day?
- Walking an hour a day will help with low mood
Walking naturally boosts our mood as it releases endorphins around our brain. Being out in the fresh air also helps with low mood too.Numerous studies have shown that moderate paced walking reduces stress, anxiety and it is one factor that is used in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help patients who suffer from depression. It is known as behavioral activation and is very important in CBT as it has to do with the way that behaviors and feelings influence each other. So going for a walk activates the happy endorphins which in turn helps change your mood.You can read more on how walking can help with improving your mood and reducing anxiety in this blog post.
- Walking 1 hour per day helps your skin – honestly!
Vitamin D is great for our skin and it’s great for our mood. Getting outside ensures that we get the most Vitamin D we can which can help keep our bones, our teeth and even our skin healthy. Of course not too much or you will end up with sun burn!
If you find it hard getting in your 1 hour walking per day, head over to my blog post on the tips and trick I use to get a sneaky 10,000 steps per day. For example, I walk to a bus stop that is further away, get off a bus stop before mine, park in the further away parking space, use the stairs, the list is endless. Head here to read more tips on how to get your 10,000 steps per day in.
These are just a few of the health benefits of walking and why walking one hour per day is good for your health. I am now trying my best to do 12,000 steps per day and as I sit typing this blog post today I have reached 13,000. I am so pleased and all from fitting walking in to my daily routine rather than having to head out to the gym!
It has been a surprise to me how easy it is to fit walking in to my everyday routine. However, it is the health benefits of walking that have surprised me the most. The thing is that walking isn’t the same as other sports, you really don’t need a lot of equipment except a good pair of walking shoes. I have to admit though that when I get home I’m an un-glamorous mess but that’s ok because I can get washed and changed knowing that I was able to fit my exercise in during and on my way home after work.
Walking also has another advantage – it is low intensity. This means that your joint won’t be pounded like they do when you run. Walking also raises your heart rate when you walk briskly and if you can fit in a quick brisk walk at lunch time you will feel so much more refreshed in the afternoon rather than the regular afternoon slump!
Most of all, walking is part of our everyday life. You don’t need to prepare yourself just get up and go walking. You will feel better for it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and get as much out of it as I do too.