Walking has been one of the few accessible modes of exercise for everyone during the last year. Some of us have discovered a new love for walking. If not, we hope this week's blog will sway you!
Of course, you probably know that any physical activity, including walking, is beneficial to your overall health. Walking, in particular though, comes with a host of benefits. Here's a list of five that may surprise you.
1. It counteracts the effects of genes that promote weight gain.
Harvard researchers studied 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people in order to see how much these genes contribute to body weight. They subsequently observed that the impacts of those genes were decreased by half among study participants who walked vigorously for roughly an hour a day.
2. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.
Researchers are already aware that any type of physical exercise reduces the chance of developing breast cancer. However, an American Cancer Society research focused on walking, discovered that women who walked seven or more hours per week had a 14% reduced risk of breast cancer compared to those who walked three hours or less per week. Walking offered substantial protection even for women who had risk factors for breast cancer; such as being overweight or using supplementary hormones.
3. It eases joint pain.
Several studies have shown that walking lowers arthritis-related discomfort and that walking five to six kilometers per week can even prevent the formation of arthritis. Walking preserves the joints by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them, especially the knees and hips, which are the most vulnerable to osteoarthritis.
4. It helps tame a sweet tooth.
A pair of studies from the University of Exeter discovered that a 15-minute walk can lower chocolate cravings and even the quantity of chocolate you consume in stressful conditions. Walking, according to new study, can lower desires and intake of a range of sugary foods.
5. It boosts immune function.
Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. In the case that they did get sick, it it happened to be for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.
Whether you walk for 10 minutes every other day or an hour seven times a week, at a leisurely pace or rapid one; the advantages of walking considerably outweigh the basic gain in fitness that the activity provides. Getting in shape is usually the motivation for starting a walking regimen, but the advantages extend far beyond a lower resting heart rate or a few centimetres off the waistline.