The warmer weather always seems to put a bit more of a spring in people’s step. It often also heralds the start of a lot of people’s “summer health kick”. The good news is, with the cost of most things in life going through the roof right now, your exercise routine doesn’t have to break the budget. In fact, one of the best forms of exercise is completely free.
We have known for a long time that walking is good for us.
In fact, entire industries are built around it – I know I’m guilty of walking up and down the stairs a few times before bed to get that step count over 10,000!
We know walking regularly promotes weight loss, improves heart health and is great for a quick mood boost. BUT, research shows that there are some hidden benefits of walking that a lot of people don’t know about.
Here are 6 of the lesser known, but equally as important, health benefits of regular walking.
𝟭/ It co𝘂𝗻𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗲𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗰𝘁𝘀 𝗼𝗳 𝘄𝗲𝗶𝗴𝗵𝘁-𝗽𝗿𝗼𝗺𝗼𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗴𝗲𝗻𝗲𝘀
Genetics is one thing we have little control over, particularly when it comes to weight. But studies have found that walking briskly for 45-60 minutes most days HALVES the effects of genes that contribute to weight gain.
𝟮/ 𝗜𝘁 𝗵𝗲𝗹𝗽𝘀 𝗺𝗮𝗻𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝘀𝘄𝗲𝗲𝘁 𝘁𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗵
Find yourself craving a chocolate bar? Why not hit the pavement instead. Walking for just 15 minutes can curb cravings for chocolate and other sugary snacks.
𝟯/ 𝗜𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗿𝗶𝘀𝗸 𝗼𝗳 𝗯𝗿𝗲𝗮𝘀𝘁 𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗰𝗲𝗿
We know any form of physical exercise can reduce the risk of breast cancer but research from the American Cancer Society found specifically, those who walked regularly (1 hour per day) had a 14% lower risk of developing breast cancer compared with those who didn’t.
𝟰/ 𝗜𝘁 𝗿𝗲𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗲𝘀 𝗷𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘁 𝗽𝗮𝗶𝗻
When you’re in pain, often the last thing you feel like doing is walking. There is plenty of evidence however, that shows walking regularly actually reduces arthritis pain. It does this by lubricating joints, strengthening the muscles that support the joints and also managing weight to reduce the load on them.
𝟱/ 𝗜𝘁 𝗯𝗼𝗼𝘀𝘁𝘀 𝗶𝗺𝗺𝘂𝗻𝗲 𝗳𝘂𝗻𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻.
Yes, walking actually helps you fight off coughs and colds! Those who walked at least 20 minutes, 5 days per week had 43% fewer sick days than those who walked once per week or less.
𝟲/ 𝗔𝗻d, 𝗠𝗢𝗦𝗧 𝗶𝗺𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁𝗹𝘆, y𝗼𝘂 𝗰𝗮𝗻 𝗲𝗻𝗷𝗼𝘆 𝗮 𝗰𝗼𝗳𝗳𝗲𝗲 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗱𝗼 𝗶𝘁!
Granted, I haven’t found any scientific paper that documents this as a medical benefit – but it has to be one, right?
So before you go spending a fortune on the next exercise craze, why not think about keeping it simple. Walking, that little thing you have been doing since you were one year old, might actually be the way to go. The key is consistency. As with any form of exercise, the more you do it, the greater the benefits. As you have my permission to get a coffee along the way.