9 great reasons to love walking
Walking is an incredibly popular way to be active, yet the value of walking can often be underrated. All those regular walkers have got something right!
Here’s nine great reasons to fit in a walk every day.
1. Improve your fitness and physical health
Walking improves heart health, reduces the risk of developing some chronic diseases and improves circulation. According to the Heart Foundation, if you walk for 30 minutes or more a day (on average), you can lower the risk of heart disease or stroke by 35 percent and Type 2 diabetes by 40 percent.
Walking is weight bearing too, so it’s great for maintaining bone strength and preventing osteoporosis.
2. Boost your mood
Being active reduces anxiety and boosts your mood, so a walk is excellent for your mental health. It gets those endorphins flowing.
3. Get social
Walking with others is a wonderful way to stay healthy and maintain your connection with friends and people in your community. If you’d like to walk with others, have a look in your local area for a walking group—most council areas have them.
If you’ve got young kids and like to walk as a family, have a look at our Walking Games fact sheet to liven up your family walks.
4. Look after your brain
Memory problems are common as we age, but walking can improve memory and slow down mental decline. Vary your walking routine to add some more stimulation for your brain—try different routes or different times of the day. Even try walking your normal route in reverse!
5. No special equipment is required
Walking is one of the few ways of being active that doesn’t require any special equipment, so it’s a good option for most of us. If you want to start walking regularly, it’s important to have a pair of runners or walking shoes that are comfortable and support your feet and ankles.
6. Enjoy some solitude
Walking on your own is an excellent opportunity to relax and mentally unwind. But did you know that you may be more creative if you walk? A study by Stanford University showed that compared to sitting, creative output increases by an average of 60 percent as a result of walking!
7. It’s free!
What could be better, or easier, than a free activity that’s just outside your door.
8. Walk at your pace
A race walker will cover a kilometre in just four to five minutes and keep up that speed for 20 kilometres! But you don’t need be a race walker. Walk at a brisk pace to gain the greatest benefit. A brisk pace for you will have you breathing harder than normal, but you should still be able to talk. According to the Better Health Channel, if you can sing, you aren’t walking fast enough!
9. Low impact
Walking is a low impact exercise that puts less stress on your joints. So it’s great if you have back, hip, knee or ankle problems. Low impact exercise like walking can be very effective too. You’ll expend about the same amount of energy walking three kilometres as you would running the same distance. Walking will just take you a little longer.
How long should you walk?
If you want to start feeling the benefits of a regular walk, try to walk at least 30 minutes every day. You can break this up into 10 or 15 minute blocks during the day until you are able to walk 30 minutes comfortably.
Last updated: June 8, 2021 at: 11:50 am