Walking has so many health benefits. It's often said that if we could put all the health benefits people get from walking into a pill, then it would be a best-selling medicine!
Alleviates depression and anxiety
The endorphins which are released as you walk help you to feel better about yourself and this leads to a more positive outlook. Also, if you're walking in the beautiful countryside, the very act of being next to nature lifts your mood. Walking can be a social activity and recently studies have shown this increased social interaction actually helps people to live longer!
Strengthens leg, hips and hamstring
Your skeleton grows stronger if you do regular weight-bearing exercise - where you are supporting the weight of your own body. Walking is perfect here - and because it is a low impact exercise which helps to improve bone mass density in the body.
Promotes psychological well-being and reduces feelings of stress and depression
Walking is a great way of relieving tension by giving you time away from the strains and stresses of life. Getting out of the stressful environment, breathing the fresh air, getting closer to nature and feeling your body move is natural stress-relief.
Helps people achieve and maintain a healthy body weight
It's well known regular exercise such as walking helps with losing or maintaining weight - and it doesn't have to be loads to make a difference - exercising three times a week for around 30 minutes will help keeping on top of your weight.
Promotes better sleep
Perhaps lesser known is regular exercise such as walking helps with insomnia and other sleep-related problems - the body needs to be fatigued in order to get a good, restful night's sleep, and exercise is a great way of doing this. Again you only have to walk three times a week for around 30 minutes to make a big difference to your sleep.
Reduces tiredness and gives people more energy for everyday tasks
Helps to reduce the risks of many serious health problems in old age
Yes, everyone has to grow old, but medical research suggests it possible to prevent up to 50% of the functional decline often associated with aging through simple exercise programmes such as walking. Also, people who walk regularly are less likely to have hip-replacement operations when older.
Researchers have found women who walk 1 - 3 hours per week after breast cancer diagnosis improve their survival rate by 20-50%. This effect is especially seen in women who have hormone-responsive tumors.
Another recent study found women who walked briskly for about an hour on most days of the week were able to reduce their risk of developing breast cancer by around 15%.
Helps to reduce the risk of developing non-insulin-dependent (type 2) diabetes mellitus
Helps to reduce the risks of developing osteoporosis
Helps to reduce the risk of developing coronary heart disease (CHD)
Helps to lower the risk of developing high blood pressure and helps to reduce blood pressure in people who already have hypertension
Helps to lower total blood cholesterol
Helps to reduce the risk of stroke