Walking is the most ordinary thing that a person can do. Unless we have some physical impairment, we take this activity completely for granted. There is one French study which suggests that we should start paying more attention to the benefits of walking, especially as we grow old.
The Benefits of Walking
The impact of the simple act of walking in the adults aged over 65 had a remarkable effect: over the course of the 12-year study, the regular walking of just 15 minutes per day reduced the rate of mortality by even 22%. The rate has been even higher with longer and much frequent activity levels.
The lead researcher stated that “Age is not an excuse to do no exercise. It’s well established that the regular physical activity has a better overall effect on the health than any medical treatment. But less than half of older adults achieve the required minimum of 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity exercise every week.”
This finding should come as no surprise.
Because it’s so basic to us, the act of walking was extensively studied for its effects on different aspects of the human condition. Some people don’t see the walking as an aerobic exercise and so they ignore its benefits. The definition of “aerobic” exercise is the onethat stimulates the heart and the respiratory rates to pump additional oxygen to the muscles. Even a slow stroll does that. The faster you walk, the more aerobic the activity is.
Increased respiratory, cardiovascular, and circulatory operations mean that the nutrients go where they must to support the exercise. The energy is used rather than stored, and the organs, muscles, and the bones are strengthened as well. Our bodies are meant for movement.
Indubitable, the sedentary lifestyle that omits adequate exercise will lead to illness. Routinely low levels of physical activity have given rise to what’s called “sedentary death syndrome”. This is a real condition that was deemed “a major public health burden because of its causing multiple chronic diseases and millions of premature deaths every year.”
If you don’t use it, you’ll lose it; this goes for everything from the muscle strength to cognition.
For All Walks of Life
A study from 2016 found that increasing the amount of walking for the obese children to 45 minutes a day, 5 days a week increases their lung capacity in only 6 weeks. Additionally, the interval training isn’t only for high-impact aerobic exercise. Employing a fast walking interspersed with a slow walk improves the fitness level more effectively than walking at continual pace.
Walking outside has a particularly supportive effect on the mental health. Natural surroundings (away from electronics and other distractions) decrease stress, improve the mood, and lower feelings of depression.
The sunshine is nourishing us with the essential vitamin D, the deficiency of which is becoming almost epidemic in the industrial world. Walking indoors has almost the same benefit; a study at Stanford University found that walking on a treadmill and facing a blank wall resulted in almost as many creative responses as being outside. Whether in or out, walking will significantly beat the sitting in measures of the mental activity.
Like a Walk in the Park
When something hurts us, we don’t want to touch it. The paradox is that the regular walking improves mobility and reduces the risk of injury. Any weight-bearing exercise—among which is walking—strengthens the bones and the connective tissue, increasing the blood and the nutrient supplies. The Arthritis Foundation recommends walking for these reasons and many others. “If you don’t walk, your joints are deprived of life-giving fluid, which could speed deterioration.”
The American Heart Association advocates walking to lower risk of high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, andstroke. It recommends a minimum of half an hour of physical activity a day to a total of at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity per week to realize the protective effects of exercise. The exercise (walking as the most basic) doesn’t have to be all at once: two 15-minute walks are just as good as a 30-minute walk. You could start slowly and work up your pace and endurance.
And that’s not all of the benefits of walking: trouble sleeping? Take a walk.
The Sleep Foundation revisedone study that found: “…a bout of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise (such as walking) reduced the time it took to fall asleep and increased the length of the sleep of those people with chronic insomnia compared to a night in which they did not exercise.”
That is a very impressive result after just one walk.
A meta-analysis of walking studies from seven countries with average duration of 11 years has found that regular walking decreased the incidence of cardiovascular events by even 31% and decreased the mortality risk by 32%. Walking as little as 5.5 miles per week at 2mph is going to protect you from most serious diseases.
Not every person can work out at a gym or run up 10 flights of stairs but most of us can walk.With all the benefits of walking that we mentioned above, it’s just worth taking a little daily stroll. Everything you need to do it is a decent pair of shoes and 15 minutes per day. Who can’t make time for that?