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The Benefits of Walking for Your Health

Walking is good for your health.

Walking is considered a moderately vigorous aerobic activity, which means it works your cardiovascular system despite being low-impact. This is the case if you walk at a speed that allows you to chat but makes singing difficult.

Dr. Robinson advises people to walk at a pace that slightly increases their heart rate. Use the “speaking test” outlined above to determine whether you should be somewhat out of breath but not entirely exhausted. He comments, “That’s a positive indicator that walking will increase your cardiovascular fitness.

Robinson advises aiming for 150 minutes of this walking per week, spread across several days (not all at once). According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, people should engage in 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends dividing it into even smaller portions throughout the day (CDC). Take three 10-minute walks, for instance, throughout the day.

According to Robinson, walking strengthens your core, which is responsible for keeping you upright when you walk, and the muscles in your legs. Walking is also an aerobic activity.

Even while walking is a fantastic all-body workout, having rest days is vital. To lower the chance of damage, he suggests performing challenging walking workouts no more than five days per week. Rest days, though, don’t necessarily entail complete inactivity.

Walking Could Make You Live Longer

You can continue to walk well into your senior years. According to research published in JAMA Network Open in 2021, people who walked at least 7,000 steps per day had a 50 to 70 percent decreased chance of dying (from any cause) by the end of the 11-year study period compared with those who took fewer steps. The study included more than 2,000 adults. Age, smoking history, body weight, alcohol consumption, food, and other behavioral and lifestyle characteristics were taken into account by the researchers, along with other physiological indicators like cholesterol, fasting glucose, blood pressure, and various medications.

As a physical activity epidemiologist and kinesiologist at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amanda Paluch, Ph.D., is the study’s lead author. “Nearly all aspects of the body benefit from physical exercise, including the brain, muscles, bones, cardiovascular system, kidneys, and lungs,” she says.

And she claims that walking is a beautiful way to fit that activity in. “Increasing your walking can help prevent numerous chronic diseases that cause premature death. Walking is one example of a physical activity that can be treated with medication.

Walking can increase bone density.

Walking is a weight-bearing activity since standing up, and your bones support your weight, according to the Mayo Clinic, which may help maintain bone health and lower osteoporosis risk.

Most importantly, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, which advice beginning with a 10-minute brisk walk three times per day, walking helps improve your leg and spine bone strength.

Lifting Your Mood Through Walking

Consider going for a walk when you’re feeling depressed. Do you recall the stupidwalkchallenge craze? It works, and the walk need not be very far. In a 2018 study, young adults who engaged in a 10-minute session of fast walking reported feeling happier than those in the control group, who were told to sit instead. This was especially true when it came to emotions of exhaustion.

Walking Helps You Lose Weight

You don’t necessarily need to engage in a rigorous exercise regimen if you want to lose weight (unless that’s your preferred kind of exercise).

A 2017 study of persons with weights deemed overweight or obese found that those who followed a calorie-reduced diet and walked for 2.5 hours a week for 12 weeks had lower fasting insulin levels and saw better fat reduction than those who only restricted calories. (Both groups also dropped around 8% of their body weight, indicating that they lost the same amount. However, those who added walking to a calorie-controlled diet shed more fat, the kind of weight you want to lose rather than losing weight due to decreasing muscle mass.)