A growing body of scientific evidence shows that walking has numerous physical and mental health benefits. Moreover, walking has a low-entry barrier and thus is an easy way for most adults to be more active.
In this article, we discuss 10 good reasons to walk further, more regularly or faster.
Walking reduces the risk of heart and cardiovascular disease
It’s no secret that physical activity can help to manage and prevent cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death globally.
Researchers at Harvard Medical School have found that walking 21 minutes a day can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by 30%.
Another study published by The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also found a positive correlation between walking and cardiovascular disease. The researchers commented:
“Overall, only two-thirds of adults reported any walking for at least 10 minutes during the past 7 days. Our study found that the prevalence of any walking was lower among adults with higher degrees of CVD risk, and this association remained after adjusting for demographic characteristics.”
Get a better night’s sleep
Sleep is needed to give your body the opportunity to repair and recharge. Healthy sleep helps to stave of illnesses, keep you alert the next day and improves cognitive function. A lack of sleep, on the other hand, means the brain does not function well, causing your actions to be delayed and your energy and mood to be low.
Any form of physical exercise, including walking, can help to give you a better night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
Improve immune system
The immune system is supported by the amount of oxygen you take into your lungs. Because of our sedentary lifestyles, most people breathe too shallowly and don’t take in sufficient quantities of oxygen.
Brisk walking makes the lungs and heart work harder, prompting you to take in more oxygen. Breathing properly is an important function for creating white blood cells the body needs to fight infections, bacteria, viruses and fungi. You can read more about how walking contributes to the effectiveness of your immune system in this article.
Lower blood pressure
The CDC reports that three in four adults diagnosed with hypertension struggle to effectively manage their condition. On the flip side, a review published in the journal of Preventive Medicine found evidence that a ‘regular brisk walking’ program helps to improve high blood pressure and strengthens the heart muscle.
Reduce the risk of diabetes
A 2012 study showed that walking more often can help people to lower the risk of Type II diabetes. Participants that walked greater distances showed a decreased risk of developing diabetes. The study found that for every 1000 steps you take, the risk of diabetes is reduced by 2-3%. Brisk walking for 30 minutes yielded the best results.
Enhance memory and creativity
A study performed by researchers at Stanford University shows that walking can heighten creative thinking. What’s more, the researchers concluded that it is the act of walking that boosts creativity, not the environment.
Participants that were asked to walk outdoors, or on a treadmill indoors, outperformed participants that were quizzed whilst sitting down by an average of 60%.
Ward off depression
The American Psychological Association published the results of two studies to reveal how walking can help people to ward off depression – or even fight depression.
One study found that 75 minutes of brisk walking a week reduced the risk of depression in 18% of adults – and 75 minutes is only half the amount of physical activity experts recommend.
The cohort of participants that completed the full weekly target of 2.5 hours of brisk walking, saw a 25% reduction in the risk of depression.
Social isolation is prevalent in today’s society. And studies indicate holing ourselves up could be contributing to the rise in depression if the individual also feels lonely by being alone.
The World Health Organisation report the increase in depression was triggered by the coronavirus pandemic – albeit there are a number of stores factors and not just loneliness.
But for people that are feeling lonely, especially if you live alone and don’t bond with your work colleagues, joining a walking club is a great way to socialise whilst you exercise. And both these things help to improve your mood.
Increase life span
A study published in the British Medical Journal indicates that people who walk more than 1 hour a day have a longer life expectancy from 40 years of age than people who walk less than an hour a day.
Another study coming out of the European Society of Cardiology claims that a mere 25-minute brisk walk a day can add up to seven years to your life.
Walking is a low-entry form of exercise that does not require any special equipment or cost a penny. In short, walking is free and gives you the freedom to choose how you want to exercise.
Whilst walking of all kinds has shown to have health benefits, fitness walking in the form of brisk walking or Nordic walking delivers the best results.
Download the Sweatcoin app
Sweatcoin promotes technology for good which is why we designed an app you can download directly to your smartphone. The app has a built-in pedometer that counts the number of steps you take each day and converts them into a digital currency you can use to purchase merchandise from over 300 online retailers.
So what are you waiting for? Download the sweatcoin app and start a walking program that delivers a ton of benefits.