Walking is the simple activity we all take for granted, but according to a recent French study, it has numerous benefits for our health especially as we age.
According to the study, walking has a significant positive impact on the health in people over 65. The study lasted for 12 years and showed that regular walks of 15 minutes can reduce the mortality rate by 22%. Longer and more frequent walks improved this number even further. One of the leading scientists on the study stated: “Age is not an excuse to do no exercise. It is well established that regular physical activity has a better overall effect on health than any medical treatment. But less than half of older adults achieve the recommended minimum of 150 minutes moderate intensity or 75 minutes vigorous intensity exercise each week.”
Of course, these results shouldn’t come as a surprise. As it’s so basic, walking has been taken for granted for a long time. Rarely anyone sees it as an aerobic exercise, and we all ignore the benefits of a simple walk. However, aerobic exercise describes an exercise that stimulates the heart and respiratory rate and pumps oxygen to the muscles, which is exactly what walking does.
By increasing the intensity, more nutrients can get where they need to in the body. In this way, the body uses energy instead of storing it, which strengthens the muscles, organs and bones. The sedentary lifestyle we all lead today is the source of many diseases and conditions. The low levels of physical activity have caused major health problems for millions of people, and has been responsible for many premature deaths as well.
Another study, conducted in 2016, found that 45 minutes of walking 5 days a week increased lung capacity, and the overall health in dozens of obese children, just in 6 weeks. This study also resulted in finding that shifting between slow and quicker pace is more beneficial than walking just slowly or quickly for the entire walk.
Walking outdoors can have a much greater effect than walking on a treadmill or around the office. Nature is soothing for our minds, and it has been proven that taking short 15 minute walks (more is recommended), away from all of your electronics, improves your mood, decreases stress, and lowers the feeling of depression.
Taking a walk on a sunny day is not only good for your mind, but the sun also provides us with vitamin D which improves bone and tissue growth.
Walking on a treadmill is almost as effective as waling outside, but you just don’t get the same effects in the mental aspect of this type of exercise.
Regular walking improves mobility, and significantly reduces the risk of injuries. The Arthritis Foundation recommends walking as one of the main prevention methods for losing bone density and decreasing their deterioration.
The American Heart Association suggests taking daily walks as a method of preventing high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke and diabetes. Once again, they recommend 150 minutes of light walking, or 75 minutes of high intensity per week.
If you have trouble sleeping, The American Sleep Association recommends taking a short walk. This walk can help you clear your head, it will also provide you with better quality sleep, according to the Sleep Association’s study.
You were provided with multiple studies which all agree on one thing; walk more. Walking 15 minutes per day decreases the risk of cardiovascular events by 30%. Walking just 5.5 miles at 2 miles per hour weekly can keep you protected from the most serious and common diseases.
If you don’t have the time to work out in a gym, just take a short walk; take the stairs instead of taking the elevator, or walk with your colleagues to lunch.