What are the benefits of walking? We love a good walk at Valley House, whether it’s our weekly staff wellbeing walk, a nature walk with our Nursery children or a long ramble as part of our Domestic Abuse Service coffee mornings! We all seem to feel better after a stroll, but why? Claire* (a support worker on our domestic abuse service and fitness fanatic) has gathered together ten reasons why walking is good for you. But don’t take her word for it, get out there and see for yourself!
1. Burns those calories!
Your actual calorie burn will depend on several factors, including: walking speed, distance covered, terrain (you’ll burn more calories walking uphill than you’ll burn on a flat surface), your current weight.
2. Tone your legs
Walking can strengthen the muscles in your legs. To build up more strength, walk in a hilly area or find routes with stairs
3. Creative thinking
Walking may help clear your head and help you think creatively. Walking opens up a free flow of ideas and is a simple way to increase creativity and get physically active at the same time
4. Strengthens the heart
Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by roughly 19%
5. Lowers your blood sugar
Taking a short walk after eating can help lower your blood sugar. Try to make a post-meal walk a regular part of your routine. It can also help you fit exercise in throughout the day.
6. Eases joint pain
Walking can help protect the joints, including your knees and hips as it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints.
7. Boosts immune function – less colds!
Walking may reduce your risk for developing a cold or the flu. One study tracked 1,000 adults during flu season. Those who walked at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes a day had 43% fewer sick days and fewer upper respiratory tract infections overall.
8. Gives you an energy boost!
Going for a walk when you’re tired can be a more effective energy boost than grabbing a cup of coffee. Walking increases oxygen flow through the body and also increases levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Those are the hormones that help elevate energy levels.
9. Improve your mental health
Walking has been shown to help reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. It can also boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal.
10. Extend your life
Walking can increase your cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness and can reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Walking can also help in the management of existing conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes.
*We have changed names to protect our staff and service users.