Benefits of Walking: Why Walking is One of the Best Forms of Exercise

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Benefits of Walking: Why Walking is One of The Best Forms of Exercise
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Walking is a good exercise that has many health benefits. Daily walking helps to keep your heart healthy, manage weight, improve your digestion, and boost your mood. Even just walking for 10 to 30 minutes a day can do wonders for your body. There is also evidence to suggest that the benefits of walking can even help you live longer.

The main advantage of walking is that it is a form of exercise available to most people. Walking is a free exercise and is a great way to prevent complications associated with a sedentary lifestyle. The only equipment you need to include in walking in your daily exercise routine is a good pair of shoes and the appropriate clothing.

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In this article, you will find out why walking is one of the best forms of exercise. You will also find out how many miles you have to walk a day to lose weight, strengthen your immunity, and improve your cardio health.

Why Walking is Good Exercise for You

Walking is a beneficial form of exercise available to most people. A daily 15 to 30 minute brisk walk can do a lot to boost your general health.

Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that walking as an exercise helps prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, strengthen muscles, and maintains a healthy weight. (1)

According to researchers from the Victoria State Government, walking is a type of exercise with fewer risks than other types of exercising. You can walk at any time of the day and you don’t need any special equipment. Even elderly people can benefit from walking every day. (2)

Apart from the health benefits of walking, there are also many social benefits. For example, walking with others gives you a great opportunity to spend time with your partner or friends.

How much walking do you need to do every day to enjoy its benefits? Most doctors say that taking a brisk walk for 30 minutes will start to make a difference to your health. (1) A daily 30-minute brisk walk will mean that you walk about 2 miles a day.

Walking briskly means walking fast enough that you can still talk but not sing. (2)

Of course, even if you can’t manage to walk 2 or 3 miles a day, any amount of increased physical activity will benefit your health.

Health Benefits of Walking Every Day

Let’s look in more detail how walking for fitness is a good cardio exercise that helps you lose weight and improve your overall health.

Walking Every Day Can Help Maintain Healthy Weight

One of the reasons why walking every day is good for you is that it promotes weight loss and helps maintain a healthy weight.

One study found that taking part in a daily walking program helped more than half of the participants lose weight in an 8-week period. The average weight loss among the small group of participants was on average 5.5 lbs. (3)

Doctors from the National Health Service say that 30 minutes of brisk walking 5 times a week will help you reach the goal of 150 minutes of weekly physical activity. (4)

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Can you lose weight by walking 30 minutes every day? The Mayo Clinic says that 30 minutes of moderate physical exercise should be your daily goal. However, if you want to lose weight, you may need to walk for longer. You can also incorporate other forms of exercise to boost your weight loss. (5)

For example, walking can also help you lose weight if you combine it with a healthy diet.

If you are overweight or obese, it is important to speak to your doctor before starting any health fitness program. You could start by walking for 20 minutes every other day and then gradually increase the frequency. You should start noticing weight loss when you walk briskly for 30 to 60 minutes every day.

You can find more details in my article “How Much Walking You Need to Lose Weight“.

Walking is a Good Cardio Exercise for Your Heart Health

A 30-minute walking workout every day is a good exercise that promotes a healthy heart and circulation.

One randomized controlled trial involving people over 50 years old found that a 30-minute brisk walk helps to improve cardiovascular health. The participants walked for 30 minutes, 5 days a week and the results were recorded after 3 months. The benefits of brisk walking for 30 minutes were lower blood pressure, increased heart capacity, and lower risk of stroke. (6)

Other studies have found that walking for 30 minutes daily helps reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. (7)

One study found that walking 3,000 steps within 30 minutes on most days of the week can benefit your heart. You could even benefit from walking for just 10 minutes 3 times a day on 5 days of the week. (8)

You can use a pedometer to track your daily walking habit and set a goal of walking for at least 3,000 steps every day.

Of course, there are even more cardiac health benefits if you walk at least 3 miles every day.

If you want to help boost your cardiac health, you can learn about some of the best foods to include on a cardiac diet.

Walking Helps to Maintain Healthy Blood Pressure

Brisk walking every day also helps treat symptoms of hypertension and reduce your risk of stroke.

A 2018 pilot study involving adults with hypertension found that 60 minutes of brisk walking 3 times a week lowered blood pressure. The researchers also discovered that the benefits of walking helped to prevent blood pressure spikes during exercising. (9)

Another study on the effects of daily walking on high blood pressure found that walking for approximately 5 miles can be beneficial. After a 12-week period, walking 10,000 steps daily (approx. 5 miles) significantly improved blood pressure. (10)

To reach a goal of 10,000 steps daily, you can break up the time into regular walking exercises throughout the day. For example, walking for 30 minutes 3 times a day will help you reach a goal of 10,000 steps to lower blood pressure.

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You can find out about some natural remedies to help lower blood pressure fast and help lower your risk of coronary heart disease.

Walking Help Boost Your Brain Health

Walking is good exercise that can help to improve your memory and strengthen cognitive health.

A study on the effects of walking on elderly people found that those who walked more had a lower risk of cognitive decline. Researchers suggest that walking is great, low-impact exercise that can help to make a difference in mental health. (11)

To get the cognitive benefits from walking for 3 miles a day, you can also add these foods to your diet that help improve brain health.

Walking Everyday Improves Your Mood

Walking for 10 to 30 minutes a day can make a great difference to your mental well-being.

One study found a definite connection between walking for exercise and mood. Women who increased the amount they walked every day noticed a decrease in symptoms of low mood and depression. The women also reported that they felt refreshed and invigorated after walking. (12)

However, you may not even need to walk for as long as 30 minutes to benefit your mood. One study in 2018 involving people aged 20 found that a brisk 10-minute walk along with meditation positively affect emotions. The young adults in the study reported improvement in their levels of fatigue-related mood. (13)

Find out what else you can do to help quickly boost your mood and alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Walking is an Exercise that Gives You More Energy

You may find that you have more energy if you incorporate daily walking in your exercise regime.

There is some evidence that moderately intensive walking can have the same energizing effect as drinking a cup of coffee.

One study involving women found that 10 minutes of walking up and down stairs boosts perceived energy levels. This walking exercise helped improve feelings of alertness and help overcome the effects of insufficient sleep. (14)

If you constantly feel tired and fatigued, find out some of the best ways to boost your energy.

Walking After Eating Helps Improve Digestion

Taking a walk after your meal can help improve your digestive health and help prevent blood glucose spikes.

The American Journal of Gastroenterology reported that walking after a meal helps food pass quicker from the stomach to the small intestines. This decrease in gastric emptying times can help people who have diabetes. (15)

Other studies have shown that going for a walk after your meal helps to improve gastric emptying without causing symptoms of indigestion. (16)

There are many ways that you can improve your digestion naturally. For example, learn about the best teas that relieve many symptoms of stomach upset.

Walking May Help Manage Blood Glucose Levels

Walking for 3 or 4 miles a day can help to improve some of your symptoms of diabetes.

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The journal Diabetes Care published the results of a study on the benefits of daily walking for diabetics. Researchers found that walking for 1 hour a day on 5 days in the week helped lower fasting blood glucose and lower cholesterol. The benefits of regular walking to blood glucose levels over the 3-month period were mostly due to reduced body fat. (17)

Walking for one hour is an effective physical exercise that will help you cover a distance of about 3 or 4 miles.

As well as regular brisk walking to manage diabetes symptoms, you can learn about delicious foods that help control type 2 diabetes.

Walking for 30 Minutes Strengthens Your Immune System

One of the things that walking does for your body is to strengthen your immunity and overall health.

A small study involving healthy women found that a brisk 30-minute walk helped to increase white cell blood count in the blood. Researchers found that walking caused small beneficial changes in immune parameters. (18)

Another study involving obese men found that walking had similar benefits to the immune system. Brisk walking for 45 minutes a day on 5 days of the week helped to increase the immune system response. (19)

To help keep yourself healthy and reduce your risk of infection, find out about 10 ways to boost your immunity today. You may also be interested to learn about herbs and supplements that help to keep your body healthy.

Walking May Help You Live Longer

Because walking as an exercise which is so good for you, it comes as no surprise that walking can help delay aging.

Many studies have pointed to the benefits of walking for 30 minutes a day or more for your longevity.

For example, a study on the effects of walking on people over 65 found that walking helped reduce mortality rates after a stroke. (20)

An analysis of cohort studies involving over 50,000 people found that walking greatly reduces the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Some studies show that daily walking can lower your risk of heart disease by 31%. (21)

The results of other studies have shown that brisk walking has better health benefits than slow or moderate walking speeds. Although a brisk pace of 5 km/h (3 mph) was recommended, researchers suggested that a walking pace that makes you slightly out of breath has many health benefits. (22)

The American Cancer Society reported that people who do moderate-intensity activity such as brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week have a lower mortality risk from chronic disease. (23)

Walking Helps Improve Symptoms of Arthritis

Walking is a great low-impact exercise that can benefit you if you have symptoms of osteoarthritis.

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A study published in the journal Knee in 2018 found that walking on a treadmill every day benefits people with knee joint pain. Over a 12-week period, daily walking helped reduce knee and joint pain and helped improve the quality of life. Researchers noted a significant increase in muscle strength and a reduction in acute knee pain. (24)

The results of other studies on the benefits of daily walking found that aerobic walking programs can benefit men and women with osteoarthritis. (25)

Find out how to relieve arthritis pain naturally by adding anti-inflammatory foods to your diet. You can also learn about some of the best supplements for treating knee osteoarthritis.

Walking Can Help Lower Your Risk of Diabetes

One of the benefits of walking a mile a day or more is that you can greatly reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Researchers have found that moderate exercise such as walking can help protect against diabetes. Some studies suggest brisk walking for at least 150 minutes every week. (26) This would be the equivalent of walking at a fast pace for one mile twice a day.

Other studies have shown that brisk walking for 3 hours a week can help reduce your risk of diabetes by up to 34%. Studies also show a relationship between the amount of walking and your risk of diabetes. (27)

So, if you already average 5,000 steps a day, try increasing your average walking time to over 7,500 steps. At least 30 minutes of this walking time should be brisk walking of over 100 steps a minute.

You should know how to identify the early signs of type 2 diabetes to help take steps to prevent the disease from developing.

Walking Helps Improve Your Sleep Patterns

A long brisk walk will help reduce your levels of anxiety, improve your heart health, and help you sleep better at night.

A 2016 study on the effects of walking 5 miles a day (approx. 10,000 steps) found that this exercise helps improve sleep quality. Over 200 people in the 4-week study reported that walking 10,000 steps daily improved their sleep. The participants reported that walking regularly helped them wake up less during the night, sleep longer, and get to sleep quicker. (28)

The daily walking exercise helped also to burn 300 calories a day.

To help you get to sleep faster and improve your sleep duration, learn about the best essential oils for insomnia. You may also find that a weighted blanket helps you enjoy a better night’s sleep.

Walking Can Help Fight Cancer

Because walking as a form of exercise is so good for your health, it can also help fight against cancer.

Most doctors agree that physical activity is important to help prevent cancer and improve the outcome of cancer treatment. A 2015 scientific report found that walking is a good exercise for many cancer patients. Brisk walking is a low impact exercise that causes fewer side effects during treatment. (29)

Other studies have shown that walking programs such as Nordic walking groups can help provide emotional, physical, and moral support to breast cancer survivors. (30)

One 2017 pilot study found that brisk walking for 1 hour a day can help improve the cardiovascular health of men who have prostate cancer. (31)

Although there is no single food that can help eliminate your cancer risk, you can learn more about the anti cancer diet. Incorporating healthy foods along with positive lifestyle choices such as walking can help lower your risk of the disease.

Useful Walking Tips

Weight loss – If you want to walk to lose weight, try an incline walk as it will help you burn more calories.

Shoes – Wear flexible, cushioned, comfortable and lightweight walking shoes.

Water – Drink water before and after your walk. In a warm weather take a water bottle with you.

Walking technique – Walk at a steady pace and swing your arms freely while walking. Look straight ahead and keep the chin parallel to the ground.

Start Walking More by Making These Tiny Tweaks to Your Daily Routine

Sneak 15 minutes of walking into your day. Try parking further from your office and walking the rest of the way or commit to walking for 15 minutes before making dinner in the evening.

Walk and talk. Next time you need to call a friend, get up and walk around. It’s an easy way to squeeze activity in without even noticing it.

Get up and walk around the office. Visit a co-worker, get a glass of water or go to a bathroom on another floor. Any movement counts.

Daily walking is an excellent habit and it’s also one of 70 habits featured in my e-book 70 Powerful Habits For A Great Health.

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