It’s said that an apple a day keeps the doctor away – and it turns out that walking may have a similar effect. Along with expected benefits like weight loss and improved cardiovascular health, here are just a few reasons why you should be walking more:
Walking boosts immune function. A study of more than 1,000 men and women showed that just a 20-minute walk, five days a week, resulted in 43% fewer sick days compared with those who exercised one or fewer times weekly. Even when walkers did get sick, symptoms were milder and duration was shorter.
It curbs your sweet tooth. Two studies from the University of Exeter showed that a 15-minute walk could tame chocolate cravings. Other recent research backs this up, indicating that in general, cravings for and intake of sugary snacks are reduced with regular strolls.
Walking cuts risk of cancer death. Two studies presented at the American Society for Clinical Oncology conference in Chicago suggest that walking can help fight cancer. One study showed that women diagnosed with breast cancer who walked 180 minutes per week were half as likely to die from the disease over an eight-year period. Similar findings were uncovered for patients diagnosed with bowel cancer.
It cuts incidence of dementia. Recent research out of Canada showed a positive link between low-level aerobic exercise and cognitive brain function in subjects suffering from dementia. The same study suggested that regular walks could diminish the risk of developing impairment in the first place.
Strolling lessens joint pain. This may run contrary to logic, but walking can reduce or even prevent joint pain. Multiple studies show that walking reduces arthritis-related joint pain – and walking five or six miles per week may help prevent the onset of arthritis. Walking protects joints by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
To reap the benefits of walking, you’ll need to get out for a jaunt for around 30 minutes most days of the week. An after-dinner stroll around the neighborhood is a great way to incorporate this into your life – plus, you might get to know some of your neighbors in the process! If you’re short on time, some creative ways to increase your walking include parking a 10 to 15 minute walk from your office, always parking in the back of the lot when shopping, or choosing the stairs instead of the elevator. However you squeeze in those steps, one thing’s for certain – walking can have a positive, sustained impact on your health and quality of life.
Resources:Health, health benefits, walking