March 13, 2023

Walking Toward a Healthier You

There are countless physical activities out there, but walking has the lowest dropout rate of them all! It is a simple, effective, and accessible type of exercise that doesn’t require expensive equipment or memberships and offers many physical and mental health benefits. Making a habit of regular walking can help improve your overall health and your quality of life.

Research has shown that the benefits of walking and moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day helps:

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease

  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels

  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity

  • Enhance the mental well being

  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis

  • Reduce the risk of some cancers

  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

Walking is widely recommended for its health benefits. However, according to a U.S. Surgeon General report on physical activity and health in America, more than half of the U.S. population does not regularly participate in any exercise. The report also states that physical inactivity is a significant contributor to poor health and a leading cause of death from heart disease, stroke and some types of cancer in the country.

The Surgeon General has encouraged Americans to “get in shape” by getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise per week. This is achievable by doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) nearly every day.

Research conducted at the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas, Texas by Dr. Kenneth Cooper, known as the “father of aerobics,” has provided valuable insights into the relationship between physical activity and health outcomes. The research shows that moderate to high levels of physical activity have significant health benefits, including reducing the risk of death from various causes.

It is increasingly evident that one of the best ways to maintain good health is through physical activity. And one of the simplest ways to do this is to walk. So here is an idea; put a pair of walking shoes (and an umbrella) in your car, and instead of parking close to the front door of your destination, park a block away, change your shoes, grab the umbrella if it’s raining, and walk.

Research shows that exercising for a sustained period is still the best way to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness. But for many of us, exercising for long periods of time can be intimidating or impossible within our schedules. Most of us experience days when unforeseen events throw us off and prevent us from having a solid block of time for exercise. But surprisingly, research also shows that intermittent activity can also be beneficial. In other words, on the days when you can’t fit in a full 30-minute walk, you can still benefit from taking two or more shorter walks squeezed in throughout the day.

Realize significant health benefits by simply getting up and moving. The human body is designed to be active and move. You can reduce the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, non-insulin-dependent diabetes, and some cancers just by becoming more physically active. Walking is a simple, effective, and generally accessible exercise to add to your daily routine to improve your quality of life.