Are you really aware of the benefits of walking? Being able to imagine anything more natural and innate than the act of walking, at least for a human being, is truly difficult. Let’s delve together into the importance of this simple act.
Why walking is an often overlooked gesture
What distinguishes us from many other other living beings (word usage aside) is perhaps precisely the ability to hold an upright position and be able to make simultaneous and harmonious movements by taking a series of steps through the use of our legs and feet.
Yet, perhaps ‘spoiled’ by modern bad habits and the hectic pace of the big cities, that pushes toward the use of more comfortable and faster means of transportation, most of us have lost sight of the many benefits that lie behind this simple, and only seemingly ‘trivial’, action.
How many steps to take per day
Walking is good for you, several studies have shown, but if you want a reminder to easily keep in mind, here then summarized 8 good reasons to walk.
Walking outdoors, perhaps in the park or around your neighborhood, can become an elixir of well-being and youthfulness if practiced for at least 30-40 minutes a day.
The ideal would be to take at least 10,000 steps, accomplished at your preferred speed, walking or brisk walking. A small daily goal that is not too difficult to hit when we consider that many of the activities we do on a daily basis amount, on average, to about half of the goal.
And if there really isn’t time to indulge in a nice walk in the fresh air, it’s up to you to leave the car in the garage to take care of what, after all, you can do very well on foot.
Going grocery shopping, taking the kids to school… any excuse is good to do some healthy exercise! The important thing is to get started; the benefits of walking will provide the impetus to do the rest.
Benefits of walking: here are 8 good reasons to do it
Still not convinced? The benefits of walking are indeed many: if we want, we can summarize them into 8 good reasons to give up sedentariness and marry a dynamic and active lifestyle.
- Diabetes Prevention. Walking every day prevents diabetes. Recent studies confirm that a daily brisk walk reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes because it triples the increase in insulin sensitivity, even in genetically predisposed individuals.
- Replacing the gym. Walking every day is good for the body, the mind…and the pockets! Yep, because in addition to saving gas money, a nice walk in the fresh air can easily replace an hour of exercise at the gym.
- Reducing the need for medication. ‘A walk a day keeps the doctor away.’ Again, it is a British study that confirms that the longer and more regular the weekly walks, the lower the likelihood of needing commonly used medications or doctor visits. Green light, therefore, to short walks during the week when time is scarce, but on weekends or holidays increase the mileage of your walks.
- Fighting fibromyalgia. This disorder affects about 4% of the world’s population and involves rheumatic back pain, muscle tension and even depression) can be countered with a 1-hour walk 3 times a week.
- Reducing the risk of stroke. A 30-minute brisk walk 5 days a week-that’s all it takes to significantly reduce the risk of stroke. According to a study conducted by the American University of South Carolina, the chances of being affected by a stroke drop by 40 percent.
- Preventing breast cancer. Walking every day is good for everyone, especially women. This is claimed by a group of Yale researchers who studied the effects of daily walking on the health of a sample of women with breast cancer. The result was that physical activity increased the chances of survival by 45 percent.
- Walking also keeps the mind young! Yes, it actually helps keeping the body and mind young. This time the study is by Italian researchers who, after 4 years of research done on 749 people with memory problems, found that those who took regular walks outdoors incurred a much lower risk of developing to regress into dementia. The reason could be attributable to the fact that physical activity increases blood flow to the brain.
- Fight the stress. In addition to being cheap and healthy, the art of ‘walking’ is good for the mood, is a very effective anti-stress, restores blood pressure and cholesterol values, and harmonizes heartbeats.
The benefits of walking are even more pronounced if, in addition to simple walking, we combine a few moments of more brisk walking, at a speed equal to or slightly above 5 km/h. Low-impact exercise combined with walking will help keep yourself fit.