With gyms closed and home workout equipment gathering dust in the corner after too many injuries with resistance bands and improvised dumbbells, walking has become the easiest way to maintain good health. Here’s some reasons to pat yourself on the back for stretching your legs, or simply some motivation to move away from the remote control.
1. Walk For Stronger Bones
Regular walking can help strengthen bones and prevent bone density loss. To strengthen bone mass you might need to mix things up on your walk by throwing in some hill climbs, adding weights or shifting gears and picking up your pace.
2. Walk For A Healthy Heart
In 2018 Harvard Medical School looked at the results of a number of respected studies to conclude that “walking reduced the risk of cardiovascular events by 31 per cent, cut the risk of dying by 32 per cent. These benefits were equally robust in men and women.” While even short walks produced results, in this case the longer and faster hikes delivered the best results.
3. Walk To Reduce Body Fat
If you’re just trying to hold the kgs at bay, 150 minutes of walking can assist in maintaining a healthy weight. Be sensible here. If you’re indulging in burger binges then a few casual strolls will not be enough to stop you from going up a size or three. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends about 250 minutes or more of exercise per week to start seeing that number on the scales go down. A 2014 study in The Journal of Exercise and Nutrition found that walking between 50–70 minutes three days a week for 12 weeks resulted in an average body fat loss of 1.5 per cent. Carry some weights and throw in some squats on your walk to fast track results.
4. Walk To Beat Boredom
During social isolation it’s easy to experience the kind of boredom that used to only come when you were made to look through photographs of a friend’s seven-day cruise. A 2016 study from the National Institute of Health in the US showed that walking “can override the effects of other emotionally relevant events such as boredom and dread.” The added bonus is that on a sunny day you can combat Seasonal Affective Disorder by basking in those mood-enhancing rays.
5. Walk for Better Circulation
Around 20 – 30 minutes brisk walking a day will markedly improve circulation but studies have shown that even walking at home will get the blood pumping. A 2014 study of people with narrowing of the arteries, affecting circulation to their legs, found that their distances improved over a year after walking 50 minutes a day at home, five days a week. Those who did not engage in the walking program saw their achieved distances decrease.
6. Walk For Your Brain
As well as getting blood flowing to your legs, walking can improve your brain’s performance. In 2017 Researchers at New Mexico Highlands University found that when walking, the foot’s impact against the ground sent pressure waves through the arteries that could increase the supply of blood to the brain. That’s down there and up there for thinking.
7. Walk For Creativity
Many creative breakthroughs can happen while you’re out taking a stroll and science backs up this popular method of combating writer’s block and other conundrums. At Stanford University a group of adults was given a variety of tasks used to measure “divergent thinking,” with walking improving their creative output by a staggering 60 percent. Even hitting the treadmill will get your juices flowing, with researchers finding no difference between indoor and outdoor walking on improving creativity.