9 Major Health Benefits of Walking That Are Hard to Ignore

Walking is such an overlooked form of exercise—but why? With countless studies proving its health benefits, it shouldn’t be!

Although you may not feel like you’re doing much with a stroll around the block, research proves otherwise.

Here, we’ll take a look 9 major health benefits of walking, plus some tips for getting started.

1. It Helps You Live Longer

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Even a little bit of walking can lead to a longer life!

A study by the American Cancer Society found that adults who walked for less than 2 hours per week had a lower death risk than those who engaged in no physical activity.

Moreover, those who walked or got in other physical activity for 5 hours or more per week had a 20% lower risk of death.

2. It Puts You in a Better Mood

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Research shows that just 10 minutes of brisk walking can boost your mood and combat fatigue.

And if you’re a nature lover, even better! Another study found that those with major depressive disorder (MDD) showed an increase in mood after a nature walk, even more so than walking in an urban setting.

3. It Relieves Osteoarthritis Knee Pain

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology led by researchers at Baylor College of Medicine found that for those 50 and older diagnosed with osteoarthritis, walking as an exercise can reduce frequent knee pain.

Even better? They found that walking may also be effective in slowing the joint damage caused by this type of osteoarthritis. Since walking is low-impact, it’s a great option for those with joint pain.

4. It Combats Obesity-Causing Genes

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Are you predisposed to be overweight? Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much they contribute to body weight.

They found that when participants took a brisk 1-hour walk each day, the effects of those obesity-causing genes were cut in half.

5. It’s Good For Your Heart

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Research from the New England Journal of Medicine found that those who walked at least 2.5 hours per week had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular events like a heart attack or stroke compared to those who did not walk regularly.

Along these lines, it also found that prolonged sitting can increase your cardiovascular risk.

6. It Helps Prevent Varicose Veins

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Walking helps your calf muscles contract, which keeps your blood flowing efficiently. This can help prevent the onset of varicose veins!

While standing more than sitting can also help, standing still most of the time isn’t as beneficial as moving. Walking can keep your veins healthy while helping you lose weight in the process.

7. It Strengthens Your Immune System

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If you’re constantly coming down with a cold or the flu, you may want to give walking a try!

Research in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that walking can help decrease your chances of catching an upper respiratory infection and reduce the length and severity of symptoms if you do get sick.

8. It Boosts Your Brain Power

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Regular exercise, including walking, can improve cognitive function and reduce your risk of cognitive decline as you age, according to the National Institute on Aging. It may also help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

9. It Lowers Your Blood Pressure

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

Lastly, according to the journal American Family Physician, walking can lower your blood pressure!

Since hypertension is a major health issue among adults (and a big risk factor for cardiovascular diseases), lowering your blood pressure is essential.

The American Heart Association stresses the importance of physical activity for lowering blood pressure, and walking is a great way to do it. They recommend the CDC guidelines of at least 150 minutes (or 2.5 hours) per week of moderate-intensity exercise, which includes brisk walking.

Walking Tips to Get You Started

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If these health benefits have convinced you to start walking ASAP, here are some tips to keep in mind:

Choose comfortable clothes: The more comfortable you are, the longer you’ll last!

Wear the right shoes: You want to find shoes that are comfortable, cushioned, and supportive.

Maintain proper form: Keep your shoulders back and chest lifted to avoid hunching forward, pull your abs in, and leave your arms free from clutter so you can move them freely by your side.

Find a walking buddy: You’re more likely to stick with it if you have someone else there to keep you motivated!

Track your progress: You can use a fitness app, tracker, or smartwatch, or simply write down your progress. (Aim for 10,000 steps a day!) Beginners should strive to walk for 20 to 30 minutes at a time, while more experienced walkers can increase to 45 or 60-minute sessions. A good rule of thumb is to gradually increase your walks by 10% each week.

Power Walking For Beginners

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

With countless studies proving the health benefits of power walking, learning how to do it will keep you moving well into the future.

Power walking is one of the most maintainable workouts a person can add to their life, so if you haven’t tried it yet, how about starting now?

Power Walking For Beginners

3 Walking Workouts For Weight Loss

Photo Credit: Depositphotos

If you want to start working out or get back in shape after taking a break from exercise, there’s no better—or more convenient—form of exercise than walking. Walking is low-impact and doable for almost everyone, but if weight loss is your goal, we’re here to tell you that intensity is the key to success.

3 Walking Workouts For Weight Loss

9 Hip-Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

As the largest joint in your body, your hips play a central role in healthy aging.

These mighty structures enable you to perform a wide range of daily activities, from standing to walking to climbing stairs—so it’s hardly surprising that hip weakness and pain can be debilitating to your everyday life!

9 Hip-Strengthening Exercises for Seniors

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.