Charles Dickens was right. Walking can help you beat those winter blues and kick start your healthy New Year’s resolutions but did you know it also has these incredible health benefits too….
10 AMAZING HEALTH BENEFITS OF WALKING
1. Reduce the risk of early death
A study by the University of Cambridge found that a brisk 20-minute daily walk reduces an individual’s risk of early death by 25 per cent.
2. Burn calories
If you add 30 minutes of brisk walking to your daily routine, you could burn about 150 more calories a day, more than half the number of calories in the average chocolate bar!
3. Lower the risk of Alzheimer’s
Studies suggest walking can help the brain combat the pathological changes that cause Alzheimer’s. Researchers found that brisk walking for 40 minutes 3 times per week reduces brain deterioration and improves memory and other cognitive functions.
4. Improve mental health
Whilst we may intuitively know that a good walk can help clear our heads, the mental health charity Mind found that country walks can also reduce depression and raise self-esteem.
5. Boost your immune system
Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. In a study of over 1,000 men and women, researchers 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. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.
6. Sleep better
According to research by Oregon State University, 30 minutes of brisk walking over five days could help you sleep betterand feel more alert during the day.
7. Curb those sugary cravings
Studies from the University of Exeter have discovered a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations.
8. Lower blood pressure
The University of Ulster reviewed the available research and found that walking could not only lower blood pressure but reduce body weight, BMI and body fat too.
9. Reduce risk of cardiovascular disease
In 2002 it was discovered that people who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines (30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week) had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly.
10. Prevent arthritis from getting worse
If you suffer from arthritis you may be tempted to avoid exercise due to painful joints. However, research this year has discovered that going for a 45-minute brisk walk each week, can help to avoid the deterioration of symptoms of arthritis. Walking protects the joints by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
Walking really is one of the most powerful and simplest of changes you can make to your health and wellbeing.
Paul T. Williams, Ph.D., a staff scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in Berkeley, California, describes walking as “a wonder drug, except that you don’t need a prescription and you don’t have to pay for it.” I guess Hippocrates was right “walking is the best medicine.”
Whilst comfortable, supportive walking shoes or walking boots are a must (our Specialist Boot Fitting Service can help you) once you have the gear, walking is free! No endless monthly payments for gym membership!
Walking can be done solo or with a group. Walking with groups such as The Ramblers or Walking for Health is a great way to walk your way to better health. The camaraderie and support from other walking group members can help you to achieve your fitness goals and they are a great way to discover new walking routes.
If the thought of going for a walk fills you with dread, our advice would be simple – start small. You don’t have to start with the 3 Peaks Challenge, walking for even a few minutes a day is better than nothing and it is a great way to build up fitness levels. People who take the first step and start becoming more physically active tend to get a taste for it and who knows, this time next year you might feel inspired to take on the Country Walking #Walk1000 miles!