10 Amazing Benefits of Walking

10 Amazing Benefits of Walking

All the wonderful ways science shows walking can improve your mind and body.

If spending hours at the gym to work on your fitness is out of the question for you, you’re not alone. But you may be able to achieve your goals in a totally different, more realistic way. Researchers are now saying there’s emerging evidence that suggests simply working physical activity into your day, even if you are often sedentary, can reduce chronic disease risk.

In other words, just getting your body moving in some way or another during the day (not necessarily in a formal “workout,”) can be a boon for your health. And one of the easiest, most natural movements is walking, of course. Here, 10 of the most impressive benefits of sneaking in some extra steps every day.

1. Reverse damage done by sitting: Research published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports and Exercise by scientists at Indiana University found that three five-minute walks done throughout three hours of prolonged sitting reverse the harmful effects of that prolonged sitting on arteries in the legs.

2. Better concentration: Researchers at the University of East Anglia looked at data from more than 18,000 UK commuters and found that active commuters who stopped driving to work and started to walk or bike to work felt better able to concentrate and under less strain.

3. Lower diabetes risk: Walking briskly could lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. A systematic review done by researchers at Harvard found that brisk walks are just one form of moderate-intensity activity that can stave off development of the disease. The reason: This form of movement can improve insulin sensitivity. (Insulin resistance is a predictor of type 2 diabetes.)

4. The same or even better health benefits runners enjoy. When researchers compared findings between the National Runners’ Health Survey and National Walkers’ Health Survey, they found that while runners saw a 4.2 percent reduced risk of hypertension, 4.3 percent reduced risk of high cholesterol, and 4.5 percent reduced risk of coronary heart disease, walkers' risk reduction for each condition was 7.2, 7, and 9.3 percent respectively.

5. Improved aging. People in their 70s and 80s who walked and did simple exercises in social groups were less likely to become disabled than those who attended classes on successful aging, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

6. More happiness and productivity at work: A workplace fitness study showed that walking is better for employees and employers. After receiving pedometers, over half of the study’s subjects walked more than 10,000 steps a day. They reported being happier at work and getting more done each day.


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7. A better shot at fighting breast cancer: Findings published in the Journal of the American Medical Association note that women who walked about one hour a week, at a 2-3 mph pace, had a greater chance of surviving breast cancer than women who got less than an hour's worth of physical activity each week. Women who did a little more than that -- the equivalent of walking about three to five hours per week at that pace -- had the greatest chance.

8. Bolstered memory: In a study of more than 1,700 adults over 65 published in theAnnals of Internal Medicine, regular walkers had a 40 percent lower dementia risk.

9. Boosted creativity: If you need to spark your imagination, it’s probably best to get moving, say researchers at Stanford University. Students who walked consistently gave more creative responses on tests commonly used to measure creative thinking, according to recent research published by the American Psychological Association.

10. Lower risk of depression: Much research, like a meta-analysis published in the journal Mental Health and Physical Activity, has shown that walking may help treat mild-to-moderate depression.

How do you feel about walking?

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I also enjoy brisk walking !

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