BENEFITS OF WALKING
Your doctor has probably told you to do it. I’ve talked extensively about it in my podcast. However, it may seem far too simple to have any real impact. This could have something to do with the fact that we’ve been doing it since we were about a year old!
If you haven’t guessed already, I’m talking about… walking.
You’re already aware that increasing physical activity like walking can substantially impact your overall health for the better. Maybe you’ve already started walking to lose weight or help with digestion after dinner. Or perhaps you simply enjoy getting out and moving your body.
I started walking when I was pregnant with my first daughter Kate, and fell in love with it. It was a beneficial and safe way to move my body. Walking feels good right away— even if it’s just a short neighborhood jaunt. And by the way… Kate is now an Olympic runner. Perhaps my love for trekking afoot went much deeper than I initially anticipated. 😊
Here are 5 under-recognized benefits of walking… some may surprise you!
- Walking can cut the number of obesity-promoting genes by up to 50 percent. A Harvard study looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 participants to determine how much these genes contribute to body weight. Interestingly, those genes decreased by half among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day. HALF!
- Walking can help pacify a sweet tooth. The next time you crave something sweet, think about walking instead of reaching for a piece of candy. A few studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb chocolate cravings and even reduce the amount of chocolate you consume when you are stressed. Likewise, other research shows that walking can reduce cravings for many other sugary snacks too.
- Walking can reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers were already aware that any physical activity could help reduce the risk of breast cancer. However, the American Cancer Society did a study that found women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than others who walked three hours or less per week. Walking lowers hormones that increase your risk for breast cancer.
- Walking is stabilizing and can help soothe joint pain. Several studies have found that walking can help reduce arthritic types of pain. In fact, the more you walk, the less likely arthritis is to even form in your body. Walking also shields the joints, especially the knees and hips, by greasing them up and firming up the muscles that support them.
- Walking can help boost immunity. Protect yourself this cold and flu season by doing a little more walking! A study of over 1,000 men and women established that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised only once a week or less. Additionally, this study points out that if the walking participants did get sick, the duration of their illness was much milder.
And when you can… take a walk outside in nature. It’s wonderful to get out outdoors, breathe the crisp, clean air, and feel the sun’s welcoming rays. By the way, the sun is a great natural source of vitamin D!
Walk With Me
Today’s FREE 40-min walking audio (below) uses two types of intervals and anaerobic intervals.
“Aerobic” means “with oxygen.” Aerobic intervals are bursts of higher-intensity walking. In this routine, you’ll do an aerobic interval for 3 minutes and then recover for 3 minutes.
Then you’ll move into anaerobic intervals. “Anaerobic” means “without sufficient oxygen.” Since the anaerobic intervals require more intensity, they don’t last long. So in today’s workout, you’ll do a 90-second anaerobic interval followed by a 3-minute recovery.
Just pop in your headphones, and you walk while I talk!