The simplest solution is often the best! If you’re tired, stressed, or just need to get out of the house, a walk can be a very soothing solution and there’s scientific proof to back this up! Walking is also one of the easiest and most accessible forms of exercise.
Embrace the simple and scientific power of walking! It’s your easy, accessible ticket to physical, mental, and emotional well-being – here’s why:
Walking has been shown to boost mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. It releases endorphins, which are natural mood enhancers and provide an opportunity for relaxation and stress relief, especially when walking outdoors.1https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6064756/
2. Heart health
Walking regularly can help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, reducing the risk of heart disease, and stroke.2https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3098122/
3. Weight loss
Brisk walking helps to burn fat and can help with weight management. Aim to build up to 30 minutes of brisk walking per day – this can be done in one session or three 10-minute walks.3https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8840715/
4. Blood glucose management
Walking after a meal helps to stabilise post-meal blood glucose levels. 4https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6225005/ In doing so, you will reduce those after-dinner cravings for “something sweet”! A light walk after eating will also aid digestion and help combat uncomfortable digestive symptoms like bloating or gas.
5. Muscle tone and strength
Walking engages various muscles, including those in your legs, hips, and core. Over time, it can help tone and strengthen these muscles.5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5361002/ We say yes to anything that will keep us strong and mobile!
6. Joint Health
Unlike high-impact exercises, walking is easy on the joints, making it an excellent choice for people with joint issues or arthritis. It can help improve joint flexibility and reduce the risk of osteoarthritis.6https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2695175/
7. Cognitive function
Some research suggests regular walking may improve cognitive function, including memory and attention. It’s also associated with a reduced risk of cognitive decline and dementia in older adults. 7https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/experience-engineering/202001/how-walking-enhances-cognitive-performance
Regular physical activity, including walking, can contribute to better sleep quality. It can help you fall asleep faster and enjoy deeper, more restorative sleep.8https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6801055/ Sleep is essential for overall health as it promotes physical and mental well-being, supports immune function, and aids in cognitive performance.
Walking can actually increase your energy levels by improving circulation and oxygenating your cells,9https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/walking/ which revitalizes your body and boosts alertness.
Studies have suggested that regular physical activity, including walking, is associated with a longer lifespan and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.10https://www.bluezones.com/2023/01/walking-leads-to-longer-life-better-outcomes/ One study showed an increase in life span of three years from walking just 10 minutes per day!11https://www.leicesterbrc.nihr.ac.uk/ten-minutes-of-walking-per-day-may-increase-life-by-three-years/
To maximize the benefits of walking, aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity walking per week. Moderate intensity means your breathing and heart rate are increased but you can still hold a conversation. Remember, any amount of walking is better than none, so even short, regular walks can make a positive impact on your health and well-being.
For more info on exercise and fitness, read Claire’s articles Unleash your inner strength: 8 reasons you should be strength training; The magic of movement: 3 ways exercise boosts your gut health and immune system and Shann’s post The Gut-Fitness Connection
Any questions? Contact one of our Nutritional Therapists via live chat, weekdays from 8 am to 8 pm.