It was Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine who said “walking is man’s best medicine”. You might be wondering how true this is. Just walking? How? What’s the mechanism of action?
Well, if you are asking yourself all these questions, continue reading to find the answers. One thing I love about Mother Nature is that she is very simple.
You must have heard how exercises are good for your health. Many want all these benefits but don’t know how to go about it.
I have come across patients who have decided to manage their conditions because they feared the rigorous exercises they would be subjected to in the gym.
If you are one of these, I have good news for you. You can achieve any health benefit of exercise by simply walking. I prescribe walking for people. I tell them to walk for at least an hour a day. And I have received and seen amazing feedbacks on their improvement.
Walking is a “wonder drug”. It improves your overall health. It has a host of amazing health benefits. Continue reading to know how this simple exercise benefits your body.
The Amazing Health Benefits of Walking
One amazing way walking impacts the body is that it resets everything in your body to its default setting. It brings everything to its set point of balance.
Walking touches every part of your body.
It aids weight loss
Walking aids the burning of fats. Those who walk often have low risk for obesity. Researchers have seen that walking briskly for at least one hour a day reduce the effects of obesity-promoting genes.
The amount of calories you burn depends on some factors. This includes walking speed, your weight, the distance you covered, and the terrain. You will burn more calories if you walk uphill than on a flat surface.
It increases lifespan
Walking extends your lifespan. Walk daily at a faster pace for at least one hour. It reduces your risks of overall death by 20%.
This is one of the secrets of those who live in the blue zones. They walk a lot and that is why they can live up to 100 years. Studies have shown that aged people between 70 to 90 years of age who leave home and are physically active live longer than those who are indoors.
Walking daily can add 7 years to your life. It repairs your DNA and triggers an anti-aging process. Walking is also a superfood.
It boosts your digestion
Morning walk is a great way to boost your digestion. It will improve your bowel movement. It encourages movement in your gastrointestinal tract.
It even strengthens your abdominal muscles.
It improves sleep
Walking helps people with insomnia sleep well. If you walk daily, you will sleep better at night.
It controls cravings
People who have difficulty controlling their appetite can benefit greatly from walking. It curbs cravings for sweets, chocolates, and unhealthy foods. It even reduces the amount of food eaten in stressful situations.
A 15 minutes walk each day can reduce your cravings for sugar and sugary drinks and snacks. Post-menopausal women who have insomnia should incorporate walking into their daily activities.
People who are sedentary rarely have good sleep. Walking also reduces stress and pains. It relaxes your body and expels sleep disturbances. It balances your hormone levels.
It tones your legs
Walking strengthens your leg muscles. It helps to build up more muscle strength. If you want to increase your leg tone, walk in a hilly area. You can also walk on a treadmill with an incline. You can also use stairs.
It strengthens your heart
Walking for at least one hour daily strengthens your heart. It reduces your risks of cardiovascular disease by about 19%. The risk can be reduced greatly if you increase the distance and duration daily.
It boosts thinking
Walking clears up your head. It helps you think clearly. It also helps you think creatively. Even studies have shown that people who walk outdoors have new ideas often than those who sit indoors.
Walking increases the flow of oxygen to your brain. This opens up a free flow of ideas. This is an effective way to boost your creativity. It also allows you to be physical at the same time.
You can try to go on a walking meeting with your friends if you are looking for a solution or a new idea.
It reduces your risk of breast cancer
Physical activities cut the risk of cancer and walking is one of the most effective physical activity to employ. The American Cancer Society carried out a study. They revealed that women who walk for 7 or more hours a week have a reduced risk of breast cancer.
They discovered that walking reduces the risk of breast cancer by 14%. Women who are at risk of breast cancer should see to it that they walk daily.
These include those who are using supplemental hormones, chemical-based body care products, and obese women.
It lowers your blood sugar
An effective way to reduce your blood sugar is to take a short walk after every meal. Taking a 15 minutes walk after each meal will improve your blood sugar levels.
It relieves joint pains
Many studies have confirmed that waling reduces pains. This includes arthritis-related pains. Walking for 5 to 6 miles weekly can prevent the formation of arthritis in the first place.
This amazing physical activity protects your joints. Especially your knee and hip joints, they are the most prone to osteoarthritis. Walking helps to lubricate your joints. It also strengthens the muscle that supports them.
It increases your energy
You can try going for a walk whenever you are tired. This is a more effective way to increase your energy than taking a cup of coffee. Walking energizes you by increasing the flow of oxygen in your body.
It increases the levels of norepinephrine and epinephrine. It also increases the levels of cortisol. These hormones increase the levels of energy in the body.
It fortifies your immune system
Walking boosts your immune system. It protects you from colds and flus. You should walk more during cold and flu seasons. People who walk more have fewer sick days than those who walk less.
Make walking a lifestyle. Even if you fall sick, your symptoms would be milder. It would also be for a short duration.
It improves your mood
Walking benefits your mental health a lot. It helps reduce depression, negative mood, anxiety, and even low self-esteem. It reduces the symptoms of social withdrawal.
Walking boosts your memory
It increases the size of your hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that controls emotions and memory. Scientists believe this is caused by an increased flow of blood to the brain.
How to Incorporate Walking Into Your Lifestyle
- Make it a point of duty to walk for at least an hour daily
- For your safety, walk on pedestrian areas. If you are walking at night, look for a well-lit place to walk.
- Make sure cars can see you if you walk early in the mornings or in the evening. You can wear a reflective light or vest
- Wear good shoes with arch support. Your shoes should be comfortable
- Wear comfortable and loose clothes
- For maximum benefits, walk under moderate sunlight. The sun is a powerful natural cure. Its gentle rays increase the production of white blood cells in your body when absorbed.
- Don’t use sunscreens
- If you are trying to get relief from a chronic illness, walk with a friend or family member. This will also make you accountable.
For busy people who don’t have time to factor in walking in their daily activities, you can try this.
- Park your car far from your office and trek the remaining distance. You have to leave home early to do this. After work, you also trek back to your car.
- You can do the same when you are using public transport. Get off the train or bus one stop early and walk to your office or business.
- You can use the stairs when going up to the next floor.
- When going on an errand, you can walk instead of driving.
How to Walk
- Walk with your head up and not looking at the ground
- Walk smoothly and roll your foot from heel to toe
- Your body should be relaxed. Most especially your neck, back, and shoulders. They should not be stiffly upright
- Swing your arms freely with your elbows bending slightly.
- Walking for weight loss Healthline
- How Walking Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat Healthline
- Higher amounts of sedentary time are associated with short sleep duration and poor sleep quality in postmenopausal women Oxford
- Frequency of Leaving the House and Mortality from Age 70 to 95 AGS
- Give Your Ideas Some Legs: The Positive Effect of Walking on Creative Thinking APA
- Walking Compared with Vigorous Exercise for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Events in Women NEJM
- One Hour a Week: Moving to Prevent Disability in Adults With Lower Extremity Joint Symptoms AJPM
- Obesity and metabolic syndrome in COPD: Is exercise the answer? SJ
- Obesity and metabolic syndrome in COPD: Is exercise the answer? Ten weeks of high-intensity interval walk training is associated with reduced disease activity and improved innate immune function in older adults with rheumatoid arthritis: a pilot study BMC
- New Study: Daily Walk Can Add 7 Years to Your Life Dr. Mercola