Walking is one of the most under-rated exercises in the world. We all take walking for granted because we don’t understand the health benefits of walking everyday. You shouldn’t be surprised if your doctor recommends that you get off the couch and get outdoors every so often — walking is, in the words of the former director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the closest thing there is to a “wonder drug.”
While we all know that any form of physical exercise, including walking, is great for our physical health, not everyone understands the particular health benefits of walking every day. Walking could be the secret you need for getting back in shape.
Top Health Benefits of Walking Every Day
Reduced Risk of ED
Erectile dysfunction is one of the biggest concerns with men’s sexual wellness. No man wants to wake up one day and realize things aren’t moving like they used to. If you are worried at all about your sexual health, then it’s time you went on a walk. One Harvard study shows a 41% reduced risk of ED in men who walk every day. Another trial showed that exercise helps to restore sexual performance in obese men with ED. Not only does walking reduce your risk of getting ED, but it could also help you eliminate it if you already have it.
Counter Weight-Promoting Genes
Another study from Harvard looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people. The study assessed how much these genes contributed to weight gain and how credible the idea that some people are genetically overweight is. The researchers discovered that the effects of these genes were cut in half for participants who walked for roughly an hour a day. This is just one of the ways that walking for weight loss works.
Tame Your Sweet Tooth
One of the surprising health benefits of walking is that it tackles a sweet tooth. Two studies from the university of Exeter discovered that even fifteen minutes of walking was enough to reduce chocolate cravings and reduce how much chocolate people eat when stressed. The latest research shows that walking reduces cravings for all sorts of sugary snacks, making walking an effective way to stay safe and healthy.
Reduce Breast Cancer Risk
Researchers already understand that any form of exercise reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. One study from the American Cancer Society found that walking in particular was truly effective. The study showed women who walked for over seven hours per week had a 14% reduced risk of developing breast cancer compared to women who walked for three hours or less per week. Walking was even effective at reducing breast cancer risk for women with other risk factors, including being overweight or taking supplemental hormones.
Reduced Joint Pain
Several studies show that walking reduces pain caused by arthritis. Walking up to six miles per week can actually prevent arthritis from developing. Walking keeps your joints safe and healthy, especially hip and knee joints that are more susceptible to osteoarthritis. Walking works by lubricating your joints and strengthening the muscles holding them in place.
Boosted Immune Function
Walking is one of the best things you can do if you want to know how to be healthy. Walking is the answer if you want to know how to stay healthy during cold and flu season. A Harvard study of over a thousand men and women found that the health benefits of walking 30 minutes a day include getting sick less often. The people who walked the most had 43% less sick days and didn’t stay sick for as long as the other group.
Studies show aerobic exercise is a great way to promote better insulin tolerance and use in your body. If you are worried about developing diabetes, or have already been diagnosed with it, then taking a short walk after a meal is an effective way to regulate blood sugar levels. Walk off your dinner and witness the health benefits of an evening walk to get control over your condition. Walking helps even those without diabetes better regulate blood sugar levels.
Reduce Stress Eating
Cravings are a natural part of life. Food cravings are generally caused by fluctuating blood sugar levels. The problem with cravings is that we typically crave foods with lots of sugar or carbohydrates. Given that these foods contribute so much to weight gain and health problems such as diabetes, it’s good to know how to reduce stress eating to keep them in check. Stress can be a major cause of overeating. Try to reduce stress and start walking for weight loss. Sometimes it’s best to control your cravings by sweating them out.
How to Walk with Proper Form
Now you know the health benefits of walking 30 minutes a day, let’s look at how to get in shape by walking effectively. Like any exercise, you get better results when you walk with the proper form. Here’s how to ensure your form is correct when walking.
Everything starts with your head. Ensure that you keep your head up and looking forward. It’s tempting to keep your eyes on the ground, but you get the most out of walking when you look ahead. Think of it like driving a car and keep your eyes on the “road.”
Moving down to your shoulders and torso, keep your neck, back, and shoulders more relaxed. Avoid walking stiffly. Let your body move freely. The same applies to your arms. You should let your arms move and swing freely with a small bend in your elbows. There’s nothing wrong with pumping your arms a little though.
Aim to keep your stomach muscles slightly tightened. Keep your back straight and avoid arching it forwards or backwards. Walk smoothly with your feet, rolling from heel to toe as you step. The more fluid and natural your movement, the better. Learn to walk effectively for more effective walking health benefits.