How many times have you heard your parents and grandparents tell you that you must walk to that neighbourhood grocery store, go for morning and night walks? I am sure plenty. If you have not listened to them ever, read this. Walking is not just good for your mental health, it also helps make your bones healthy. How? Because it is a weight-bearing activity and any weight-bearing exercise forces you to work against gravity providing a level of resistance that is good for your bones. Walking also slows down the progression of bone loss. In a study evaluating the effects of exercise on people with osteoporosis, walking alone did not appear to improve bone mass, but researchers did find that it was able to limit progressive loss. And according to the Arthritis Foundation, walking regularly is especially helpful if you are overweight or living with arthritis. But this is not alone. There are many other benefits of walking too. We list some here:
Decreases blood pressure
Walking reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease as it lowers the blood pressure. Various studies have shown that regular walking for at least six months can significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Reduces risk for Type 2 diabetes
Over 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity such as brisk walking reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes. Studies have shown that walking for at least 30 minutes per day reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes by approximately 50 per cent. But don’t confuse walking with the walking that you do while doing household chores. Mark a separate time for walking when your mind is into it.
Promotes healthy weight loss
Studies have shown that overweight and obese people benefit more if they include brisk walking in their daily schedule along with diet control.
Improves cholesterol levels
Aerobic exercises help improve good cholesterol (HDL) levels and lower bad cholesterol (LDL). Walking specifically lowers LDL levels in adults by about 4 per cent. Walking also improves the anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory properties of HDL cholesterol.
Researchers have found that walking more than two hours a day significantly lowers all-cause mortality in men without critical diseases. For men with critical diseases, walking one to two hours per day showed a protective effect on mortality compared with walking less than 30 minutes per day.