It’s so common these days to hear about the benefits of the latest trends in exercise. HIIT, Crossfit, programs that start with ‘X’ or ‘Power’ - you name it. What we haven’t seen much of lately is the promotion of good old, simple, free, no-program-needed walking. Given the recent times that our nation has gone through with many gyms and exercise facilities closing and leaving people to take responsibility for still getting that exercise in, we thought it’s the perfect time to go back to the basics and highlight what a brilliant impact walking just 30 minutes a day can make.
1. The effect on disease
We know that exercise is generally good for you - but it can also help with certain diseases and medical problems, too. When we walk, our cardiovascular system is in full swing, blood is pumping around our body and bringing with it oxygen and nutrients, our joints, muscles and bones are activated, and our energy stores are being used. Research has shown that walking 30 minutes a day can help with problems like high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, the risk of stroke, diabetes, breast cancer and more.
2. The effect on our weight
Alongside exercise fads, diet fads also seem to be rampant in the media. While these diets tend to be highly restrictive and have their safety often debated in the literature, walking for 30 minutes a day has been proven to be a safe and effective way to help manage obesity. Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.
3. The effect on our mental health
Regular walking has also been shown to help manage depression, anxiety and stress. It is thought to achieve this by stimulating the body’s production of the endorphins and taking your mind away from negative thought cycles. It may also be related to improved confidence through meeting goals, greater social interaction and even from the positive self-esteem changes associated with weight management.
4. The effect on our joint pain
Seems counterintuitive. When we have sore joints from problems like arthritis, we want to avoid activities that trigger the pain, right? As it turns out, many studies have found that walking actually reduces the joint pain related to arthritis, as well as helping to prevent the development or slow the progression of arthritic complications. It is thought to do this by protecting and lubricating the joints while strengthening the muscles that support them.
5. The effect on your immune system - and your risk of getting sick
Walking may even reduce your risk of getting the flu this season by boosting your immunity. A study that tracked 1,000 adults during the flu season found that those who did moderate walking for between 30 and 45 minutes every day, compared to those who were not active, had significantly fewer sick days, by 43%, and less upper respiratory tract infection overall. If they did get sick, their symptoms were not as extreme as passed faster .
Is pain holding you back from making your daily walk?
Regardless of whether you’re walking the dog, walking alongside your child as they cycle along or walking up to do your grocery shopping - a walk is a walk, and it all counts. If pain, discomfort or a foot problem is preventing you from being able to walk regularly and comfortably, we’d love to help. Book your appointment online by clicking here or call us on (07) 4162 7633.