Ahh, walks. Who doesn’t feel much better and refreshed after a walk? Even if it’s just for 20 minutes, there are so many benefits. Walking is free and easy to fit into your daily routines. During your lunch hour, eat lunch and add a walk into your routine, or first thing in the morning start your day with a walk.
We know you heard there are countless benefits of exercising, but what about just a simple walk? The benefits of walking for your mind and body are numerous. From lowering cholesterol to brain clarity, the pros will make you want to incorporate walks into your routine.
According to Harvard Health, here are 5 surprising benefits of walking:
1. It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.
2. It helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.
To help maintain your clean diet, get your daily steps in to help with sugar cravings.
3. It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.
4. It eases joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints – especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis – by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
5. It boosts immune function. 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. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.
At Checkable Health, we care about your overall well-being and taking care of yourself. If you’re wanting to avoid a gym, go with a walk instead! It’s easy and free. Plus, you can’t complain about fresh air. Grab your favorite tennis shoes and get out for a stroll!