How Walking 30 Minutes per Day Could Save Your Life
Trends, especially in fashion, come and go season after season but there is one trend we hope will remain. All over social media are posts about fitness goals, fitness motivational quotes, meal prep Mondays and all sorts of feats of physical fitness. It seems that these days everybody is either going to the gym, doing CrossFit, running, cycling, yoga, Pilates and/or a little bit of everything.
This is definitely one bandwagon we wish everybody would hop onto, but did you know that walking for as little as 30 minutes a day can have life changing effects?
So life changing in fact that walking 30 minutes a day, every day, can help extend your life and could save up to 37,000 lives a year if people only took the time to take a walk.
According to the Walking Works report from Walkingforhealth.org, walking for at least 21 minutes a day can prevent 36,815 premature deaths, prevent 294,730 cases of diabetes and save around 12,000 people from going to the hospital because of coronary heart disease.
In a Cambridge University study following the lives of 334,161 Europeans across 10 countries with an average age of 50 for 12 years, researchers have found that in general inactive people were much more likely to suffer from sudden death than those who were moderately active. All it takes is a short 20 minute brisk walk (walking as if you’re going somewhere and running a bit late) and you could be 16%-30% less likely to kick the bucket early than those who are classified as inactive.
Aside from saving your life, walking or daily moderate exercise can really improve your quality of life. It can give you more energy during the day and a myriad of other benefits.
Benefits of Walking
Walking lowers the risk of disease. I’m sure everybody will agree when we say that walking is a pretty easy thing to do. You and I do it to get to the fridge to grab a soda, why not do it to ward off disease? Walking, with as little as 20-30 minutes every day has been found to reduce your risks of developing lifestyle diseases such as diabetes, cancer, high-blood pressure and heart disease.
Walking keeps your weight in check. And who doesn’t want that? Can’t do headstands? Too weak to even lift your own weight? Don’t worry, studies have shown that regular walking on steep terrain for as little as 20 minutes a day has been found to aid in weight loss and improve muscle mass. Ever wonder why New Yorkers are so skinny? It’s all the walking they do!
Walking prevents dementia and osteoporosis. Dementia affects 1 in 14 65-year olds, and 1 in 6 people who are aged 80 or above. Walking, or any physical activity, has been found to have a protective effect on the brain, reducing your risk of dementia by as much as 40%. It is such an easy exercise to do and it might be able to prevent brain shrinkage in older folks and help them retain much of their memory. When you walk, you are putting stress and impact onto your joints and bones, making walking a weight bearing activity. Weight bearing activities such as running, weight lifting, Pilates and yoga have been found to reduce the risk of osteoporosis. The impact of these types of workouts puts stress on our bones and creates super tiny “fractures”. The healing that occurs after every exercise results to higher bone density, therefore preventing osteoporosis.
Walking gives you energy and makes you happy. Like most types of exercise, walking increases blood circulation through your body, thereby increasing oxygen intake and carbon dioxide expulsion by your cells. The physiological changes brought about by increased physical activity can make you feel more alive and alert. Getting active also releases endorphins, a get-happy hormone that can improve your mood for hours after a light exercise. Walking regularly has also been found to ease symptoms of depression, with 83% of those who are clinically diagnosed with the disease claiming that they walk in order to improve their moods.
So, hit the town and take a quick walk – it’s good for the body, mind and soul!