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5 Health Benefits of Walking
Getting up and moving doesn’t need to feel like a chore. Walking is an easy physical activity that most people can do, and all you need is a good pair of shoes and a place to walk.
Staying active is a great way to stay in shape and feel better each day. Here are 5 health benefits of walking to help you learn how walking helps your body.
Health Benefits of Walking
The number of calories you burn per walk will depend on your weight. According to Harvard Health, walking 4 mph for 15 minutes will burn 175 calories for a 155-pound person. Likewise, the same walk will burn 135 calories for a 120-pound person.1
If weight loss is a goal of yours, one way you can burn more calories is by adding interval training to your walking routine. The most common type of interval training is doing brisk walks or periods of running during a walking session. For example, you’d walk normally for five minutes, then briskly walk for a minute. Studies show that you can burn an additional 200 calories in 2.5 minutes just by adding interval training into your exercise routine.2
Improve Cardiovascular Fitness
Walking is a cardiovascular exercise. Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of your body to utilize oxygen when exercising. Your lungs, heart, and muscles work together to help you through the exercises. As your cardiovascular fitness improves, your body will be able to use more oxygen efficiently, your heart can pump more blood, and your muscles can grow strong.3
Cardiovascular fitness can have just as much impact on your overall health as smoking, high blood pressure, and cholesterol. Having good cardiovascular fitness can prevent cardiovascular disease, heart disease, strokes, and cancers, and it also has a positive impact on your lifespan.4
Reduce Risk of Heart Disease and Stroke
Heart disease and strokes affect millions of Americans, but you can reduce your risk by walking each week. Walking for at least 30 minutes each day is proven to lower your risk for heart disease and your risk of strokes by 30%.5
One study found that the number of steps can determine the percentage of your risk of heart disease will decrease by. Their findings found that for every 2,000 steps a day that a person took, they would have a 10% reduced chance of heart disease. For every 2,000 additional steps per day increase taken, the chance of heart disease fell by 8%.6
Another study on strokes found that the women who walked at least 3 hours a week had a 43% lower stroke risk than those who did not walk. Walking has also been proven to be more effective than high intensity exercises to reduce strokes.7
Improve Your Mood
Walking has been found to have a direct impact on your mood because it increases blood flow circulation to your body and brain. This blood has an impact on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which is located in the central nervous response system and plays a role in stress. Walking can help you feel more at ease and reduce stress because it can calm your body.8
Furthermore, going outside and being surrounded by plants and trees has been shown to improve mood and mental health. A study found that being outside for at least 20 minutes can improve mood and make people feel happier.9
Strengthen Immune System
Walking has been proven to boost the immune system, with one study finding that those who walked 20 minutes at least 5 days a week had 43% fewer sick days than those who did not exercise more than once a week. The researchers also found that the sickness was milder in those who did get sick.10
One reason why walking boosts your immunity is it increases the number of white blood cells in your blood. White blood cells team up together to fight infection and other diseases that enter your body.11 This is one of the many ways how walking can help your body.
Walking Safety Tips
Here are a few safety tips to help you stay safe while you walk:
- Wear proper footwear. Even if you’re just walking around the neighborhood, wearing comfortable shoes will prevent injury and help you maintain your balance.
- Wear comfortable clothes. Wear loose-fitting comfortable clothes while you walk. If it’s cold outside, make sure you wear the proper attire such as a jacket and hat.
- Wear sunscreen. Even if it’s cloudy, the sun’s rays can cause sunburns and skin damage. Apply sunscreen before your walk to protect your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. Experts recommend you use sunscreens with at least 30 SPF because they protect against 97% of the sun’s rays.12
- Drink water. Drink water before and after to ensure that you’re hydrated throughout the walk. If it’s a hot day, you should carry a water bottle with you.
- Warm-up. Warming up before walking can prepare your muscles for the walk. You can do easy stretches to get ready for your walk.
- Avoid dangerous paths. Sidewalks with cracks, potholes, branches in the way, black ice, and debris can all pose the potential to injure yourself. Avoid walking in places where you might be prone to injuries.
Get Walking Today!
Are you looking for ways you can be healthier? Try incorporating walks into your weekly routine!
Saber Healthcare is an organization that provides services to more than 115 buildings across the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana, Delaware, and Florida. To learn more about our company and services, click here.
Saber Healthcare is an organization dedicated to providing consultant services to long-term care providers. This article is for informational purposes and is not meant to be seen as professional advice. Please consult with a medical expert before relying on the information provided.
- “Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights.” Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publishing. 8 March 2021. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/calories-burned-in-30-minutes-for-people-of-three-different-weights
- Crow, Sarah. “Doing This One Thing While Walking Burns Twice As Many Calories, Trainer Says.” Eat This, Not That!. 10 November 2021. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.eatthis.com/news-double-calorie-burn-walking/
- Dale, Patrick. Bailey, Aubrey, ed. “What Does Cardiovascular Fitness Mean?” Livestrong. 12 August 2019. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.livestrong.com/article/286610-what-does-cardiovascular-fitness-mean/
- “Cardiovascular Fitness: What It Means to Your Heart Health.” Abbott. 5 October 2017. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.abbott.com/corpnewsroom/healthy-heart/cardiovascular-fitness--what-it-means-to-your-heart-health.html
- “Benefits of Walking.” Heart Foundation. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://walking.heartfoundation.org.au/benefits-of-walking#:~:text=Walking%20for%20an%20average%20of,of%20heart%20disease%20and%20stroke
- Preidt, Robert. “Walk More to Cut Heart Attack and Stroke Risk?” WebMD. 20 December 2013. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/news/20131220/walk-more-to-cut-heart-attack-and-stroke-risk-study-suggests
- “Take a walk, reduce your risk of suffering a stroke.” Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publishing. 1 July 2013. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/take-a-walk-reduce-your-risk-of-suffering-a-stroke#:~:text=Women%20who%20walk%20every%20week,with%20women%20who%20are%20inactive.
- Brennan, Dan. “Mental Benefits of Walking.” WebMD. 25 October 2021. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/mental-benefits-of-walking#:~:text=Walking%20helps%20boost%20your%20mood,responsible%20for%20your%20stress%20response.
- “Spending Just 20 Minutes in a Park Makes You Happier. Here's What Else Being Outside Can Do for Your Health.” Time. 28 February 2018. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://time.com/5539942/green-space-health-wellness/
- “5 surprising benefits of walking.” Harvard Medical School, Harvard Health Publishing. 10 July 2021. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/5-surprising-benefits-of-walking#:~:text=It%20boosts%20immune%20function.,once%20a%20week%20or%20less
- Roberts, Hannah. “7 benefits of walking and how it can improve your health.” Insider. 17 June 2020. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.insider.com/guides/health/fitness/benefits-of-walking
- “How to Choose the Right Sunscreen.” Saber Healthcare Group. 28 May 2021. Accessed 17 June 2022. Link: https://www.saberhealth.com/news/blog/how-to-choose-the-right-sunscreen