The Surprising Health Benefits of Walking

The Surprising Health Benefits of Walking

Whether you’re taking a leisurely stroll in the park or briskly pacing through your neighborhood, here are some surprising health benefits of walking that might just motivate you to take more steps each day.

On this National Walking Day, lace up your shoes and step out for a stroll, because the benefits of walking extend far beyond just getting from point A to point B. Whether you’re taking a stroll through your neighborhood or briskly walking your favorite trail, here are some surprising health benefits of walking that might motivate you to take more steps each day.

1. Counteracts the Effects of Weight-Promoting Genes

Did you know that you can reduce the effect your genes have on your body weight? According to research from Harvard, walking briskly for about an hour a day can significantly reduce the effects of obesity-promoting genes. In a Harvard study of over 12,000 individuals, those who walked briskly for about an hour a day saw the influence of these genes cut in half. If you’re worried about your genetic predisposition to weight gain, walking could be your new secret weapon.

2. Helps Tame a Sweet Tooth

Craving something sweet? Before you indulge, consider taking a brisk walk instead. Studies from the University of Exeter have shown that just a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate, and even reduce the amount of chocolate you consume in stressful situations. It's just 15 minutes, we can all do that, right!?

3. Reduces the Risk of Developing Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a significant concern for many women and walking can help reduce the risk. Research from the American Cancer Society found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer compared to those who walked three hours or fewer per week. This protection held true even for women with breast cancer risk factors such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones. 

4. Eases Joint Pain

If you suffer from joint pain, walking might be a godsend. Several studies have shown that walking can reduce arthritis-related pain, and even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. By lubricating the joints and strengthening the surrounding muscles, walking helps protect vulnerable areas like the knees and hips from conditions like osteoarthritis. Instead of letting joint pain hold you back, consider incorporating regular walks into your routine to help keep your joints healthy and pain-free.

5. Boosts Immune Function

Finally, walking can give your immune system a much-needed boost, year-round. Research has shown that individuals who walk at least 20 minutes a day, at least five days a week, experience 43% fewer sick days compared to those who exercise less frequently. And if they do get sick, their symptoms are often milder, and the duration of illness is shorter. 

On this National Walking Day, we're celebrating the simple yet powerful act of putting one foot in front of the other. Whether you’re walking for physical health, mental well-being, or simply to enjoy the beauty of the world around you, know that each step you take is contributing to your overall health and vitality. So, throw on your favorite long skort with shorts and a long tunic with sun protection let’s step out together. Your body will thank you for it!