In this day and age, exercise is the key to living a healthy, content life. Not only does a mountain of research back up this statement, but walking is perhaps the easiest way to combat the negative health effects of prolonged sitting, as well as many other illnesses. This does not mean that you have to overexert yourself and train for a marathon, but simply take a peaceful walk every day. It can be significantly beneficial to both your body and mind. Following are ten essential reasons why walking can be a considerable improvement to your lifestyle.
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- 1 1. Losing Weight by Walking Daily
- 2 2. Walk to Fight Cancer
- 3 3. Walking Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
- 4 4. Walking Reduces Blood Pressure
- 5 5. Walk to Reduce Risk of Diabetes
- 6 6. Walking Unclogs Arteries and Regulates the Heart
- 7 7. Walking Boosts Mental Health
- 8 8. Walking Fights Arthritis by Strengthening Joints
- 9 9. Walking Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy
- 10 10. Walking Promotes a Healthy Brain
1. Losing Weight by Walking Daily
If you have been looking for the quickest, easiest way to lose weight then walking is your answer. First and foremost, you will need to find a peaceful, walkable place to begin the activity, and a place where you can focus on a walking goal. Residents who live in walkable neighborhoods are noted to weigh up to ten pounds less than someone who lives in a non-walkable environment. Neighborhoods that have poor places to walk are barriers to physical activity, and research shows that people are happier and skinnier in walkable neighborhoods.
Walking daily can also offset obesity that is handed down through genetics. Just walking one hour a day can help reduce the influence of obesity by half.
2. Walk to Fight Cancer
Women who routinely walk one to three hours every week are significantly decreasing their chances of contracting breast and uterine cancer by 19%. When increasing walking activity to three to five hours a week, the percentage increases to 54%, and many women will never have to worry about cancerous diseases. Men who consistently walk at least three hours every week are also 57% more likely to avoid prostate cancer and other illnesses.
3. Walking Reduces Risk of Heart Disease
Walking can have a direct, substantial impact on cardiovascular health and many studies have indicated that risks for developing heart disease decreases as the amount of walking and other physical activity increases. Retired men who make it a goal to walk over one mile every day can greatly prevent the onset of heart disease, compared to men who walk less, according to New England Journal of Medicine. Women who walk at a moderate pace (3 to 4 mph) for at least three hours each week can essentially reduce the risk of heart disease by 40%, and the percentage increases as physical activity increases. After all, sitting is known as the “smoking” of this generation, because activity and cardiovascular health go hand in hand.
4. Walking Reduces Blood Pressure
If one were to walk at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, then their blood pressure would be considerably decreased and in appropriate levels. While many people suffer from high blood pressure, it is most often a result of poor dieting and stress, and walking can help reduce stress levels and regulate blood flow throughout all areas of the body.
5. Walk to Reduce Risk of Diabetes
A study conducted by New England Journal of Medicine linked walking with reduced diabetes risk. If an adult walks at least 2.5 hours every week (with a healthy diet), then they can reduce diabetes risk by a whopping 58%. For obese adults over the age of 60, walking reduces risk of diabetes by 71%.
6. Walking Unclogs Arteries and Regulates the Heart
A study found that exercise before meals is a great way to reduce the harmful effects of high-fat foods on blood vessels and arteries. While walking is infinitely healthy for the heart, arteries and vessels, it also helps to stem build-up and clogging of artery walls. The more you walk, the more circulation you are providing for your arteries and blood vessels, and the rest of your body will receive necessary amounts of blood flow.
7. Walking Boosts Mental Health
Perhaps the best way to combat depression and anxiety is to go for a walk at least once a day. Studies have undeniably proven this benefit, and while 9% of American adults suffer from depression, walking replenishes the body’s endorphins that directly influence well-being and contentment. It is the direct remedy for stress, and walking will also boost self-esteem and cognitive function, such as focus, reason and attention.
8. Walking Fights Arthritis by Strengthening Joints
People suffering from arthritis in the knees can greatly increase the function of their joints as well as walking distance after a few weeks of routine walking. Studies have shown that arthritis sufferers were able to increase walking distances by 18% and also boosted their joint function by 40%, eliminating much pain and medication needs after walking for a set amount of time.
9. Walking Promotes a Healthy Pregnancy
Although many pregnant women do not feel healthy or energized during pregnancy, by just walking for thirty minutes a day, they can prevent back pain, swelling, constipation and other pregnancy-related issues. It is also a great way to improve the health of the infant during the pregnancy.
10. Walking Promotes a Healthy Brain
With a weekly routine of walking, one will also significantly decrease the chances of experiencing mental decline and brain atrophy, and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by 50%. Any form of dementia that is associated with old age can be reversed through daily walking, and symptoms can be greatly reduced. Exercises such as walking are also known to stop brain shrinkage in older participants.
Living a healthier lifestyle can be quite easy if you make it a goal to walk every week. If you would like to improve your walking activities, you could try: moving to a more walkable neighborhood, walking instead of driving to work and finding interesting places to walk to every day. Walking can be fun if you set clear goals for yourself and choose a nice environment, and you will be on your way to maximum health and contentment. Start out by walking short distances at first, and then as your body adapts to the activity, you can increase your goals. Not only is it beneficial to your health and your body, but it also contributes directly to mental happiness and overall well-being.