This week is the last week of National Walking Month! Walking offers many health benefits to people of all ages and fitness levels. See below for some reasons to get walking and tips on building more walking into your day to day.
Your actual calorie burn will depend on things such as walking speed, distance covered, terrain and weight.
E.g. someone weighing 180lbs, walking at 3.5 mph on a flat surface will burn approx. 224 calories but walking uphill, the same person will burn 354 calories.
You can determine your actual calorie burn through a calorie calculator.
Strengthen your heart
Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by about 19%
Your risk may reduce even more when you increase the duration or distance you walk per day.
Help lower your blood sugar
Taking a regular short walk after eating may help lower your blood sugar.
Taking a 15-minute walk three times a day (after breakfast, lunch, and dinner) improved blood sugar levels more than taking a 45-minute walk at another point during the day.
Ease 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.
Walking may also provide benefits for people living with arthritis. Walking 5 to 6 miles a week may also help prevent arthritis.
Boost immune function
Daily walks may reduce your risk for developing a cold or the flu.
A study found that walking at a moderate pace for 30-45 minutes a day led to a 43% reduction in sick days/upper respiratory tract infections and milder symptoms compared to adults who were sedentary.
Boost your energy
Going for a walk when you’re tired may be a more effective energy boost than grabbing a cup of coffee.
Walking increases oxygen flow through the body & can also increase hormones that help elevate energy levels.
Improve your mental health
Walking can help reduce anxiety & depression, boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal.
Aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking three days a week.
Extend your life
Walking at an average pace compared to a slow pace resulted in a 20% reduced risk of overall death.
Walking at a brisk or fast pace (at least 4 miles per hour) reduced the risk by 24%
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.
Walking may help clear your head and help you think creatively.
Try to initiate a walking meeting with your colleagues the next time you’re stuck on a problem at work.
Tips for staying safe while walking
Walk in areas designated for pedestrians. Look for well-lit areas if possible.
If you walk in the evening or early morning hours, wear a reflective vest or light so cars can see you.
Wear sturdy shoes with good heel and arch support.
Wear loose, comfortable clothing.
Drink plenty of water before and after your walk to stay hydrated.
Wear sunscreen to prevent sunburn, even on cloudy days.
Get a pair of sturdy walking shoes.
Speak to your doctor before starting a new fitness routine.
Warm and cool down before walking to avoid injury.
Choose a walking route and daily step goal that’s appropriate for your age and fitness level.
Pick a walking route near your home.
Look for a scenic place to walk in your area – try using our Cultural Walking & Cycling Map for some inspiration.
Consider getting a pedometer or other fitness tracker to keep track of your daily steps.
Add walking into your daily routine
If you commute, get off your bus or train one stop early and walk the rest of the way to work.
Park farther away from your office than usual and walk to and from your car.
Consider walking instead of driving when you run errands.
Information courtesy of Healthline