Unfortunately, people, unless they have some physical impairment, tend to take walking for granted. However, according to a French study, we should pay more attention to the benefits of walking, especially as we age. In fact, according to a 12-year study, regular 15-minute walking on a daily basis lowered the rate of mortality by 22% in adults over 65. What’s more, the rate got higher as the activity levels became longer and more frequent.
According to the head of the research, age should not be an excuse for not exercising. Regular physical activity has a better overall effect on the health than any medical treatment and this has been scientifically established. Unfortunately, he asserts, less than half of older adults achieve the recommended minimum of 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity exercise weekly.
A lot of people don’t see walking as an aerobic exercise and therefore they ignore its positive effects. An aerobic exercise is known to encourage the heart and respiratory rates to pump additional oxygen to the muscles. Amazingly, even a small stroll does this. The faster we walk, the more aerobic the walking becomes.
When the respiratory, circulatory, and cardiovascular operations are increased, the nutrients go where they must in order to support the exercise and energy is used rather than being stored. Also, the muscles and bones become stronger.
Our bodies are made for movement and therefore, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of diseases. Chronic low levels of physical activity have given rise to sedentary death syndrome. One thing’s for sure, if you don’t use it, you lose it; from muscle strength to cognition.
According to a study done in 2016, obese children who walked 45 minutes per day for 5 days increased their lung capacity in only 6 weeks. Furthermore, fast walking in combination with a slow walk betters the fitness level more than walking at a continual pace. Outdoor walking has a very positive influence on the mental health because nature is known to improve the mood, decrease the stress, and reduce the feeling of depression.
However, walking indoors is almost as good as walking outdoors; namely, a study done at Stanford University showed that walking on a treadmill facing a blank wall led to almost as many creative responses as being outside.
As stated by the Arthritis Foundation, when you don’t walk, the joints are deprived of life and the chances of deterioration are much higher. Regular walking is known to better the mobility and lower the risk of injury. It also strengthens the bones and connective tissue and increases the blood and nutrient supplies.
According to the American Heart Association, walking reduces the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, and diabetes. You don’t have to walk all at once; 15-minute walks are as good as the half hour ones. You can gradually increase the pace and endurance. Another amazing benefit of walking is that it helps you fall asleep easier. The study which showed this also pointed out that walking increased the length of sleep in people suffering from chronic insomnia.
All in all, even though we’re not all able to work out at a gym or run up 10 flights of stairs, most of us can walk and a daily stroll is definitely worth taking. You just need good shoes and 15 minutes per day. Go for it!