A sedentary lifestyle can be harmful to your health, why not make a change by walking more?
Forget about HIIT workouts or lifting weights for a second, the key to a healthier body and mind is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other. While walking has always been known for its powerful health benefits, an eye-opening new study in the United States has shown that more than 46,000 cancer cases could be prevented if everyone walked for about 45 minutes each day.
If you’re prone to inactivity, walking is the quickest way to cut down your risk of chronic diseases, making your brain sharper, and lowering your blood pressure. Need more convincing? Here are some great reasons to lace up and talk a stroll around your neighbourhood.
Although burning calories is often associated with cardio-intensive and aerobic workouts, walking can certainly help you maintain or lose weight. The number of calories torched will depend largely on your walking speed, distance covered, your weight, as well as the sort of terrain you choose to walk on. To burn more calories, try walking uphill or on paths with elevation.
Reduce the risk of chronic diseases
To prevent diseases, consider scheduling time for longer walks that are at least an hour-long, once, or twice a week. The New England Journal of Medicine found that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines had a 30 percent lower risk of cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack or stroke, compared to those who did not walk regularly. Walking can also help to lower blood sugar levels and decrease the overall risk for diabetes.
Improve your mood
A sip of wine or a bite of dark chocolate might quickly improve your mood but walking in a relaxing environment like a nature park can lift your spirits, with lasting health effects to boot. Studies have shown that regular brisk walks can help reduce anxiety, depression, and the tendency for negative moods. It’s also known to reduce symptoms of social withdrawal.
Alleviate joint paint
Those suffering from joint pain can try low-impact exercises like walking, to increase blood flow to cartilage. This helps the joints receive the nutrients it needs to cushion the ends of bones in the joints. Increased mobility also lubricates the joints to decrease pain and stiffness over time, resulting in a wider range of motion.
Sharpen your mind
Aside from notable physical benefits, walking also offers a mental boost. A study by Stanford University found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60 percent. This is because walking allows our minds to wander, which naturally provides a conducive state for new ideas to spring.
Delay onset of varicose veins
The risk of developing varicose veins increases with age, but walking is a proven way to delay its onset. Regular walks can strengthen the leg muscle and boost healthy blood flow, in turn working to move blood back up to the heart and lungs. Those who already suffer from varicose veins can reduce swelling by walking daily.