The most natural, and one of the first things we learn as infants is how to walk. Most of us walk daily, without even thinking of what mechanisms are involved in making our legs move and taking us to a different location. We are also unaware of the many benefits that walking provides for our health.
In this day and age, it’s getting easier and easier to neglect the positive effects of the most basic human functions. We spend our days glued to the monitor, we take taxis and ubers everywhere we go, and the only walking we do is negligible. However, if we changed our habits just a tiny bit, the benefits for our health would be immeasurable.
A recent French study has proven that the impact of walking just 15 minutes a day is highly beneficial to our health, and in elderly people it reduces mortality before the age of 65 by 22%. The study took over 12 years of extensive research, including hundreds of test subjects, and the results confirmed everyone’s suspicions.
The research proved that in order to increase your life span, and live a healthy life, you need 150 minutes of light exercise, or 75 minute of high intensity training. Unfortunately, it has been found that more than 50% of adults never exercise.
What happens when we walk?
If you are one of those who believe that they don’t have the time to exercise, you should really try walking. Take the stairs occasionally, or walk to lunch. Even the slightest increase in walking can be beneficial for your body. Walking is considered an aerobic exercise, meaning that it stimulates the heart and your respiratory system. Even walking to the bathroom is a form of exercise, and increasing your pace and the length of walk is an even better one.
While walking, the nutrients you consumed go where they are needed in order to support the exercise. This means that the carbs and unsaturated fats won’t get stored in your fat cells, but rather be consumed in order to provide you with the energy needed for exercising.
It has been undoubtedly proven that the more time you spend in a stationary position the more you’re prone to illness. “Sedentary death syndrome” has been on a rise in the last decade, and it’s exactly what it sounds like; premature death (usually people in their late 40’s or early 50’s) caused by the sedentary life style. Our bodies are made for movement, our ancestors chased prey for hundreds of kilometers, and we are simply not made to sit around. Our bodies, as well as our minds, require constant use in order to stay on top of their game.
Walking and obesity in children
Another study, conducted in 2016, found that 45 minutes of walking 5 days a week increased lung capacity, and the overall health in dozens of obese children, just in 6 weeks. This study also resulted in finding that shifting between slow and quicker pace is more beneficial than walking just slowly or quickly for the entire walk.
Walking and its benefits to mental and physical health
Walking outdoors can have a much greater effect than walking on a treadmill or around the office. Nature is soothing for our minds, and it has been proven that taking short 15 minute walks (more is recommended), away from all of your electronics, improves your mood, decreases stress, and lowers the feeling of depression.
Taking a walk on a sunny day is not only good for your mind, but the sun also provides us with vitamin D which improves bone and tissue growth.
Walking on a treadmill is almost as effective as waling outside, but you just don’t get the same effects in the mental aspect of this type of exercise.
Regular walking improves mobility, and significantly reduces the risk of injuries. The Arthritis Foundation recommends walking as one of the main prevention methods for losing bone density and decreasing their deterioration.
The American Heart Association suggests taking daily walks as a method of preventing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and diabetes. Once again, they recommend 150 minutes of light walking, or 75 minutes of high intensity per week.
If you have trouble sleeping, The American Sleep Association recommends takin a short walk. This walk can help you clear your head, it will also provide you with better quality sleep, according to the Sleep Association’s study.
You were provided with multiple studies which all agree on one thing; walk more. Walking 15 minutes per day decreases the risk of cardiovascular events by 30%. Walking just 5.5 miles at 2 miles per hour weekly can keep you protected from the most serious and common diseases.
If you don’t have the time to work out in a gym, just take a short walk; take the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or walk with your colleagues to lunch.