Very few understand the impact walking has on both health and well-being. A study presented by researchers at Germany’s Saarland University suggests that regular aerobic exercise, as well as other forms of exercise, can add 3-7 years to a person’s life when done regularly. Experts suggest walking for 20-30 minutes each day in addition to getting up and moving whenever you can (which some say can increase lifespan by 33 percent). At this point you know you can walk your way to a longer life but now the question is how. How does walking have such a positive effect on lifespan?
Strengthens the Heart
Walking strengthens the heart in several ways. First, it increases heart rate which puts the muscular organ to work. An increase in heart rate means that the heart is pumping more blood throughout the body and to the muscles. When this happens the organ is working harder and that work will result in a stronger, more efficient heart.
Lowers Disease Risk
Walking lowers the risk of developing a number of diseases including heart disease and type 2 diabetes. It reduces the risk of heart disease by lowering LDL (bad cholesterol levels) and increasing HDL levels. As for diabetes, walking works as a preventative measure by improving the way muscles use insulin and absorb glucose.
Reduces Cancer Risk
Cancer has cut millions of lives short so we have to do what we can to combat it. Walking reduces cancer risk in several areas of the body, especially the colon, prostate and breasts. It reduces the risk through energy balance, insulin regulation and hormone regulation in addition to reducing inflammatory and immune factors that contribute to cancer. For example, women that are physically active have a lower risk of developing breast cancer than inactive women. Being overweight increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer because it exposes them to higher estrogen levels. Regular physical activity, like walking, controls body weight which reduces these levels and lowers the risk of cancer.
Walking is also a relaxing activity that allows us to clear our minds. People need that because stress isn’t good for the body. In fact, it can lead to depression, anxiety, headaches, high blood pressure, and more. Walking, on the other hand, releases those feel-good endorphins that are just as effective as an antidepressant. Take a relaxing walk by yourself or with a friend/family member to boost your mood.