Is walking good for you?
We all know by now that we should be walking more; getting off the bus/tube a stop or two early, walking the kids to school, getting up from our desk every 30 minutes and probably spending less time in front of the TV, laptop or playing video games. All in all we spend too much time sitting down and being inactive. So is walking good for you? We all know that walking is a form of exercise and as part of a plan that includes a healthy diet can help lose weight and is a good but gentle form of cardiovascular exercise BUT there also a number of other benefits that are just as, if not more important. These include:
Type 2 Diabetes
A recent study by the School of Public Health at Imperial College London suggested that people who walk to work were about 40% less likely to have diabetes than people who drove to work.
Increases Vitamin D Levels
Vitamin D is very important in that the body needs it to absorb calcium which in turn is vital to help maintain strong bones (calcium deficiency can lead to brittle bones and even osteoporosis. We also need Vitamin D to help the body fight infections and help maintain healthy organs. A daily 15 minute walk is all that is needed to make sure you get your daily dose of Vitamin D.
Reduces the risk of Heart Disease
Research has shown that a daily brisk walk can help reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 50%. Even walking at a moderate pace for 30 minutes a day can reduce the risk of heart disease in women by 40% according to a 1999 Harvard Study.
I have highlighted just a few of the less obvious benefits of walking, the more widely known ones include increased heart lung fitness, reduction of body fat, increased muscle strength and stamina.
A few more statistics that will hopefully motivate you to walk more…..
“Walking for 20 minutes a day could save 37,000 people a year from dying prematurely of cancer, heart disease and stroke” according to a report by The Ramblers & Macmillan Cancer Support
In fact, walking briskly can lower your risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes as much as running, according to a new study conducted at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Life Science Division in Berkley, California.
Researchers analyzed in The National Runners’ Health Study conducted research on 33,060 runners and 15,045 walkers. They found that the same energy used for walking at a moderate pace and high intensity running gave similar benefits in reducing the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes over the study’s six years.
You do not have to run and jog with Olympian intensity to get a raft of health benefits, just a daily brief walk can immeasurably provide all round health benefits.