Get Outside and Walk
If you’re looking to adopt a habit that is simple, easy, fun, safe, free, and healthy, start walking regularly. Studies show that regular walking can reduce the risk of many diseases by 20 percent or more, as well as eating healthy which reduces risk of cancers, heart diseases, strokes and diabetes.
Daily walks help to burn excess calories, support heart health, and strengthen the lungs. Ideally, you should be walking at a brisk pace, completing about 3 miles per hour. Aim for the recommended 150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week, or 30 minutes of walking five days per week. Even if you don’t hit the 150-minute mark, any walking you can manage is better than not walking at all.
In a study that followed 14,000 people over a 13-year period, people who walked for exercise were 26% less likely to develop diseases when compared with people who did not walk at all. People who walked the recommended 150 minutes or more per week lowered their risk of disease by another 20% when compared with people who walked less than the recommended amount.
Walking Vs. Running
There is a popular misconception that walking is simply a slower form of running. This is actually far from the truth.
Walkers always have one foot on the ground, while joggers and runners have “hang times” in which both feet are in the air. The impact is high when a runner’s foot hits the ground and in the long-term can lead to damage to the ankles, knees, and lower back. Walkers, on the other hand, do not experience nearly as much impact, and so the risk of exercise-related injuries is much lower.
Running burns twice as many calories as regular walking. Aside from that fact, running and walking share many of the same health benefits. Because of this, people looking to quickly lose a few pounds may choose running over walking. However, for those looking for a low-risk, sustainable form of exercise that they can keep up with long-term, daily walking is probably a better choice.
Make the right choice for you
Walking is a form of aerobic exercise that most people can do. However, if you are living with a chronic health problem, a physical disability, or if you are post-surgery or childbirth, you should talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen, even if it is low-impact.
If you have the all-clear from your doctor, start walking at a slow pace for a few minutes each day and gradually increase the pace and duration of your walks.
There are so many benefits to regular walking, so don’t miss out on another day. Just get outside and let your feet lead the way to a healthier you.