Walking is not only a great way to get out of the house during the pandemic, it is also a highly effective means to support your overall health. In addition to controlling weight, walking can help people stay physically active longer and offers numerous mental health benefits.
Prominent Bariatric Medicine Physician, Dr. Jan McBarron encourages all her patients getting started on their health journey to start by walking. For as little as ten minutes a day, she explains that walking is a very impactful and positive way to take control of your health.
Make Walking A Part of Your Daily Routine
It might surprise you to know that less than half of all adults get the recommended amount of physical activity. Striving for at least 150 minutes of physical activity a week, Dr. Jan McBarron suggests that individuals ease into exercise through walking. Not only is it accessible to all fitness levels, but it can be increased in intensity and duration depending on where you are in your journey. You can make walking enjoyable by asking a friend or neighbor to join you, have a destination in mind, or by listening to a podcast or audiobook. Dr. Jan explains that the benefits of walking are numerous and should convince you to get started today.
Burn Calories and Lose Weight
It goes without saying that walking can improve your physical health, even though it may not seem like the most strenuous way to get active. Helping you burn calories and lose weight, walking can help to improve your body’s response to insulin and can provide you with similar reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and heart disease.
A small study found that taking a 15-minute walk three times daily improved blood sugar levels and was just as effective as taking a 45-munute walk all at once. Studies have also found that a daily walk can reduce the risk of stroke in both men and women, reduce the number of days spent in the hospital, lower your risk of death by up to 39 percent, and strengthen your heart. Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week, can reduce your risk of coronary heart disease by about 19 percent.
In addition to the physical benefits, the mental benefits of walking can also be transformative for your mood. Research has shown that regular walking modifies your nervous system favorably so that you will experience a significant decrease in anger and hostility. To experience the benefits of a reduction in anxiety, depression, and a negative mood, experts suggest aiming for 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate intensity exercise three days a week.
In addition to improved mood, walking may also be a great way to fend off fatigue, as going for a walk may be a more effective energy boost than grabbing a cup of coffee. Dr. Jan McBarron explains that walking naturally increases oxygen flow through the body, increasing levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine—hormones known to help elevate mood and energy levels.