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  • Writer's pictureJason

Why Is Walking So Underrated?

Walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise even though it provides an endless amount of health benefits to people of all ages and fitness levels. It could also help prevent many different types of physical and mental diseases. Walking is easy to do and great to fit in to your daily routine given all of the benefits it provides.


What Are The Benefits Of Walking?

Burns Calories And Improves Fat Loss

The average person walking at a moderate pace burns about 60 calories per 1,000 steps. This means if you are currently maintaining your weight with the amount of steps you take and activity you do, by adding an extra 1,000 steps every day will also increase your energy expenditure by approximately 60 calories. So adding just 2,000 steps a day could potentially burn 1 extra pound of fat per month. 1 pound of fat is 3,500 calories and for every 2,000 steps walked about 120 calories are burned. 120x30=3,600 calories. It takes about 10 minutes to walk 1,000 steps at a moderate pace so if you wanted to burn 1 extra pound a month adding in 20 minutes of walking a day could do the job. The Journal Of Nutrition conducted a study where they randomly assigned 2 groups of people 1 group to a low calorie diet and the other to a low calorie diet plus about 25 minutes of walking (about 2,500 steps) per day. After 12 weeks the walking group lost about 3 pounds more fat than the non walking group.


Improves Cardiovascular Health And Reduces Risk Of Heart Disease

According to NCBI walking appears to have Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) related health benefits in younger, middle, and older men and women, in both healthy and patient populations. Physicians and public health professionals are in a key position to recommend that their patients increase levels of daily walking. Evidence from epidemiological studies suggest that even small improvements in the amount of daily walking is better than no walking, and greater increases confer larger cardiovascular health benefits. Patients may see short-terms gains such as improved fitness, body composition, blood pressure and lipid profiles. Longer term benefits include reduced risk of CoronaryCHD, coronary events and mortality. Patients should gradually raise their walking levels, with the public health recommendation of 150 minutes per week as a minimum goal. Clinicians can assure their patients that the risk of injury with this form of exercise is minimal.

Reduces Risk Of Developing Breast Cancer

According to Harvard Health, study conducted by The American Cancer Society found that women who walked 7 or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than the ones who walked a maximum of 3 hours per week.


Improves Mood And Increases Energy Levels

According to inside CSLUB, a study conducted by Southern California University professor Robert Thayer found that the more people walk each day, the more energetic they feel and the better their mood. Thayer and a group of student researchers assessed 37 individuals (12 males and 25 females) over a 20-day period, during which time each participant wore a pedometer from their waist from the time they dressed in the morning until just before bed. At the end of each day, participants completed several rating scales based on their judgments of the entire day, including self-ratings of self-esteem, happiness, overall mood and depression as well as energy and tension. After making the self-ratings, they noted the number of steps taken that day according to their pedometers.“We found that there was a clear and strong relationship between the number of steps they took and their overall mood and energy level,” said Thayer.

Improves Sleep

According to MINNPOST researchers at Brandeis University found that when healthy adults individuals without any symptoms of a clinical sleep problem increase the time they spend walking each day, they sleep better at night. The researchers recruited 59 middle-aged adults with a total average age of 49 years old. They all had full-time jobs and reported sleeping for at least seven hours on most nights. They were healthy enough to walk briskly, although at the start of the study each self-reported walking less than 60 minutes per day. The participants were given a portable activity monitor, which they were asked to wear for four weeks to track their daily steps and the number of minutes they spent moving. They were then randomly divided into two groups. Those in the intervention group were instructed to increase their baseline number of daily steps in 2,000 increments during each of the four weeks of the study. To help them meet that goal, they were given materials about where, when and how they could increase their walking. The people in the control group were not given instructions. Each evening during the study, both groups received an email with a link to a survey that asked them questions about their previous night’s sleep, including how long they had slept (when they had gone to bed and when they awoke) and the quality of their sleep. The study found that walking was positively associated with improved quality sleep. The participants who averaged the most steps during the month long study and who spent the most minutes being active, reported significantly better quality sleep, on average, than those who walked the least.


Eases Joint Pain and Strengthens Muscles

Walking is a low impact exercise with very little stress placed on your weight bearing joints like your hips, knees and feet. It also helps lubricate the joints while strengthening the muscles around them reducing the risk of arthritis-related pain.


Boosts Immunity

According to Harvard Health, walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women 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. Also if they did get sick, it was for a shorter time and their symptoms were milder.


Increases Longevity

The American Cancer Society recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or walking per week. One study found that all levels of walking, even below the recommended guidelines, were associated with lower mortality risk. Participants who walked for less than 2 hours per week had a lower risk of death than those who got no activity at all. People who got 1 to 2 times the recommended level of physical activity just through walking had a 20% lower mortality risk.


How Do I Incorporate Walks Into My Daily Routine?

  1. Park far away from your destination so you have a long walk to and from your car.

  2. Set gaps in your schedule to walk. (I am usually able to find some time after breakfast, lunch or dinner.)

  3. Get a step tracker and set daily step count goals. For example I like to make sure by the end of the day my watch says 10,000 steps. This can also be done in the health app on iPhones or Google Fit on Android. Common goals range between 8,000 and 10,000 steps per day.

Ways To Make Walking Fun

  1. Walk with friends

  2. Walk your dog

  3. Listen to music or podcasts while walking


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