6. Reasons Walking Is Good for Your Health
Step into a healthier heart, more energy, a longer life — and more.
Walking is good for your brain, muscles, bones, lungs, and everyday health.
“Walking affects different systems in the body, and so it has a lot of benefits,” a sports medicine physician at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City.
Despite being low-impact, walking is considered a moderately intense aerobic activity — if you do it at a pace at which you can still talk but singing would be difficult — meaning it works your cardiovascular system.
When walking, Dr. Robinson suggests people should go at a pace that gets their heart rate up a bit. You should be a little breathless but not completely out of breath; use the “talk test”. “Which is a good monitor that the walking you’re doing will improve your cardiovascular fitness,”.
Only150 minutes of this type of walking per week, multiple days (not all at the same time). That’s in line with the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans (PDF) from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which recommends 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week for adults (or about 30 minutes, five days a week).
It’s also good to break it up into even smaller chunks throughout the day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For example, you might do three 10-minute walks in the day.
Actually, in aerobic exercise, walking strengthens the muscles in your legs, as well as your core, which has the job of holding you upright as you step.
In fact, walking is a full-body workout as it’s still important to take rest days. It is recommended to do walking workouts no more than five days per week, to decrease the risk of injury. It’s okay to do light- or moderate walking every day since taking steps on a daily basis is beneficial to your health. (More on that below.)
Here are some other ways that walking can affect your health from head to toe:
1. Walking May Lengthen Your Life
Walking can take you well into your golden years of life. In a study of more than 2,000 adults, those who hoofed it for at least 7,000 steps per day had a 50 to 70 percent lower risk of dying (from any cause) by the end of the 11-year study period, compared with those who took fewer steps, according to one research which is published in Jama Network open in 2021. The researchers controlled for different behavioral and lifestyle factors, including age, smoking history, body weight, alcohol intake, and diet, as well as health markers like cholesterol levels, fasting glucose, blood pressure, medication usage, and a lot more factor.
“Being active benefits nearly all parts of the body, such as the brain, muscles, bones, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and lungs,”.
And walking is a great way to get that activity in. Walking more can help prevent many chronic conditions that cause early death. There is no single drug that does what physical activity, such as walking, can do.
2. Walking Can Boost Bone Strength
There is no doubt walking is a weight-bearing exercise (meaning you perform it upright with your bones supporting your weight. So, it may help preserve bone health and potentially lessen the risk of osteoporosis. What’s more, walking also increases core strength, increasing stabilization, and balance to help prevent falls as you age.
Most notably, walking can improve bone strength in your legs and spine, which recommends starting with a 10-minute brisk walk three times per day.
For the biggest benefits to your bones combine walking with a strength-training program.
3. Walking Gives Your Mood a Lift
When you’re feeling down, head out for a walk. It works — and it doesn’t even have to be a long walk. Young adults who performed a 10-minute bout of brisk walking observe their mood rise — particularly when it came to feelings of fatigue — compared with a control group who were instructed to simply sit.
Getting up and moving helps you shake off feelings of low energy, which contribute to an overall sense of feeling down. Earlier research by the same authors found that even five minutes of walking helped improve mood and lower the signs of depression.
4. Walking Is Good for Weight Loss
If you’re setting out to lose weight, More from weight loss.
In one study of adults whose overweight or obese, those who consumed a calorie-reduced diet and walked for 2.5 hours per week for 12 weeks reduced fasting insulin levels and had greater fat loss, compared with calorie restriction alone. (Both groups also lost about 8 percent of their body weight, meaning they both lost the same amount of weight. But those who added walking to a calorie-controlled diet lost more fat. Which is the type of weight you want to be losing, in spite of losing weight because of decreased muscle mass.)
5. Walking Promotes Heart Health
A regular walk will work your heart — notably taking down your cholesterol level. High cholesterol is a high risk of heart disease. That decreasing total cholesterol level by 10 percent can slash your risk of heart disease by nearly one-third. The walk will help you to make that happen.
6. Walking decreases blood pressure
Walking also helps decrease blood pressure — another risk factor for heart disease — if done three to five times per week for 20 to 40 minutes each time, over the course of three months.