The Benefits of Walking
It gets cold in winter on the Mornington Peninsula. During these chilly days, it is tempting to rug up and stay inside in front of the fire. But you should avoid the temptation and try to get outside for a walk everyday.
This improves your physical and mental health. Walking provides numerous benefits including:
- Arterial Health
- Chronic Disease
- Managing Pain
- Mental Health
- Cognitive Performance
Prolonged sitting causes adverse effects on health, including the health of your arteries. Sitting for a long period of time makes it harder for your arteries to be able to contract and relax which increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Walking for five minutes every hour helps your arteries be able to contract and relax normally.
A 2013 study found that brisk walking reduces the risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol (Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis and Vascular Biology 2013).
Walking may also help with pain management. Walking is beneficial for individuals suffering with chronic lower back pain. The Clinical Rehabilitation journal (2013) found that walking is as beneficial for low back health as training of the abdominal and back muscles.
For individuals at risk of developing knee osteoarthritis, walking was found to be about as beneficial. Individuals who walk a minimum of 6000 steps per day for seven days are least likely to develop mobility issues after two years (Arthritis Care & Research Journal)
Mental Health and Cognitive Performance
Walking also benefits the brain! A study from the Journal of Experimental Psychology has found that participants experience a boost in creativity during and immediately after walking that they do not get when sitting. The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine and Science in Sports also found that office workers experienced increased relaxation and enthusiasm, as well as a reduction in stress after walking for 30 minutes at lunch time.
Walking provides immense benefits, and is easy to do. Try to go for a walk every day, your body and your back will thank you!