12 Benefits of Walking

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If body follows my writing notes, I seem to be obsess with daily activities like walking. And that is true, because this is my new obsessive passion. I might have written on the same topic, other times but still here I am again writing yet another note on benefits of walking. In my mind, this enforces me to keep doing what I have been doing now for several years.

This note is inspired by and based on 12 Major Benefits of Walking, According to Experts published in Prevention. The authors lists the following benefits of walking:

  1. Improve your mood. Research shows that just 10 minutes of walking can lift your spirits. Other recent research found walking during the COVID-19 pandemic could significantly improve mood. Plus, The effect may be amplified even more if you take a stroll through some greenery.
  2. Burn calories and maintain a healthy weight. “Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older,” says Ariel Iasevoli, a personal trainer in New York City. The best part? You don’t have to tire yourself out on a treadmill at the gym to see these benefits. “One of my clients reduced her body fat by 2% in just one month by walking home from work each day, which was just under a mile,” she says.
  3. Reduce your risk of chronic diseases. The American Diabetes Association recommends walking to lower blood sugar levels and lower your overall risk for type 2 diabetes. Some research even shows that for every 1,000 daily steps you take, you could lower your systolic blood pressure by .45 points. That means if you clock in 10,000 daily steps, your systolic blood pressure is likely to be 2.25 points lower than someone else who walks only 5,000 daily steps.
  4. Live longer. That’s right, walking can seriously help you add years to your life, and it doesn’t take much to see results. In fact, one study found that people who did just 10 to 59 minutes of moderate exercise (like brisk walking) per week had an 18% lower risk of death during the study period compared to those who were inactive.
  5. Boost your brainpower. In one study, brain scans of people who walked briskly for one hour three times a week showed the decision-making areas of their brains worked more efficiently than people who attended education seminars instead.
  6. Alleviate joint pain. Contrary to what you might think, pounding pavement can help improve your range of motion and mobility because walking increases blood flow to tense areas and helps strengthen the muscles surrounding your joints.
  7. Delay the onset of varicose veins. As you age, your risk of varicose veins increases. However, walking is a proven way to prevent them from developing, says Luis Navarro, M.D., founder and director of The Vein Treatment Center in New York City.
  8. Stimulate your digestive system. “One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilizes core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system,” says Tara Alaichamy, D.P.T., the manager of rehabilitation services at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. In other words, when you start moving, your bowels start moving too.
  9. Enhance creativity. According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Dr. Jampolis.
  10. Improve your sleep. If you work out regularly, you’ll sleep better at night. That’s because physical activity naturally boosts the effects of melatonin, the sleep hormone. A 2019 study from Sleep found that postmenopausal women who do light to moderate-intensity physical activity snooze better at night than those who are sedentary.
  11. Kickstart your immune system. Research shows that moderate-intensity exercise—and walking in particular—ramps up our immune system. It increases the number of immune cells that attack pathogens in our body, which lowers your risk of becoming seriously ill from infectious diseases. Not only that, if you do get sick, research has found that people who walk more spend less time in the hospital.
  12. Make other goals seem more attainable.“Walking for older individuals is a great gateway exercise to get your muscles moving and your heart elevated. You can also speed it up to more of a speed walk to increase your heart rate,” ​​Marisa Golan, a certified personal trainer, Base Ops Fitness Coach at Fort Athletic Club.

Fitness expert Denise Austin, told Prevention “Walking has always been my main source of cardio, and except for when I was pregnant, I’ve been the same weight my entire life!”

“The key is to strut for, ideally, at least 30 minutes a day, says Melina B. Jampolis, M.D., author of The Doctor on Demand Diet. And whether you decide to lace up your walking shoes and walk to work, pair up with a friend, or join a hiking club, research shows that walking can do everything from lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of chronic diseases to making your brain sharper and your heart happier“, writes Prevention.