Walking faster – and more often – could help you sleep better, live longer and make healthier lifestyle choices. A recent study finds that brisk walking extends your lifespan and boosts sleep quality.
While brisk walking may not appear to be as trendy as HIIT classes or Soul Cycle, picking up the pace whilst you’re out and about is an excellent way to help the heart beat faster and breathe more deeply.
Deeper breathing also means you take more oxygen into the lungs which are dispersed throughout your body. Oxygen helps the immune system to clear out bacteria and other foreign bodies that have a negative impact on your health and wellbeing.
Previous studies have also shown that brisk walking increases cognitive function, blood flow and will help you recover from Covid quicker and other infections quicker. That’ll be the oxygen.
This latest study is epic if you struggle to get the recommended eight hours of sleep every night. Researchers at the University of Sydney have shown that brisk walking helps to improve your quality of sleep.
The Link Between Sleep and Brisk Walking
67% of UK adults have disrupted sleep patterns, while 23% get less than five hours of sleep per night – which falls short of a healthy snooze. 1 in 3 adults even suffers from insomnia.
This is hugely problematic, as poor sleep has been linked to an increased risk of early death, and a variety of different health problems, including cancer.
Moreover, sleepless nights disrupt your quality of life and can have a negative impact on your work performance. When the brain is not given sufficient time to rest and recover, you feel like the walking dead.
According to experts, brisk walking boosts sleep hormones such as melatonin. This is a hormone that is directly linked with the circadian rhythm and regulates sleep.
If you are not sleeping well, heading out for a brisk walk two to three hours before you turn in for the night will help you relax before bedtime. Brisk walking is a great stress reliever.
Doctors also recommend avoiding HD screens on TVs, computers, tablets and smartphones as well because the blue light in screens mimics daylight and can interrupt melatonin levels produced by the brain.
However, researchers found that the best time of day for a brisk walk is in the morning. Absorbing the first light of day is thought to entrain a strong circadian rhythm, to promote good sleep.
Health expert Vonda Wright, MD, notes that a brisk walk in the morning has been shown to increase deep sleep by 75%.
But the Benefits of Brisk Walking Don’t End There…
While brisk walking can help you get a better night’s sleep, it can also undo the harmful effects of poor sleep, according to research.
A large-scale Biobank study analysed health data from more than 380,000 people over the course of 11 years. Researchers tracked the number of exercises people performed, and whether it was of ‘high’, ‘medium’ or ‘low’ intensity. They also examined their sleep quality, which ranged between ‘healthy’, ‘intermediate’ and ‘poor’.
The researchers, comprising teams in University College London and the University of Sydney were able to draw a clear conclusion. Brisk walking negates the poor health associations of bad sleep and offers the health benefits of good sleep, which includes living longer.
Brisk walking is defined as walking while being able to talk, but not sing. Bad luck, operatic strollers.
The Findings: Brisk Walking Gives You the Health Benefits of Sleep
The researchers concluded that brisk walking for just 2.5 hours per week could give you the same health benefits as quality sleep. This level of activity even appeared to ‘eliminate most of the deleterious associations’ of poor sleep on your risk of early death.
That means that brisk walking can both improve your sleep quality and simultaneously compensate for poor sleep quality when it comes to your health and life longevity.
So what are you waiting for? Grab your phone, pop a podcast on and get your hips moving. You can track your performance by counting the number of steps you clock up by downloading the Sweatcoin app.
Not only that but for every 1000 steps you earn 1SWC – a digital token you can use to buy discounted merchandise with any of our partners. To date, we have over 300 vendors and counting!