February 7, 2023 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Column: Why Is Walking so Underrated?

By Jason Friedman

Walking is one of the most underrated forms of exercise even though it provides an endless amount of health benefits to people of all ages and fitness levels. It could also help prevent many different types of physical and mental diseases. Walking is easy to do and great to fit in to your daily routine given all of the benefits it provides.

What Are the Benefits of Walking?

Burns Calories And Improves Fat Loss
The average person walking at a moderate pace burns about 60 calories per 1,000 steps. This means if you are currently maintaining your weight with the amount of steps you take and activity you do, by adding an extra 1,000 steps every day will also increase your energy expenditure by approximately 60 calories. So adding just 2,000 steps a day could potentially burn 1 extra pound of fat per month. 

Reduces Risk of Developing Breast Cancer
According to Harvard Health, study conducted by The American Cancer Society found that women who walked 7 or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than the ones who walked a maximum of 3 hours per week.

Improves Mood and Increases Energy Levels
According to inside CSLUB, a study conducted by Southern California University professor Robert Thayer found that the more people walk each day, the more energetic they feel and the better their mood.

Improves Sleep
According to MINNPOST researchers at Brandeis University found that when healthy adult individuals without any symptoms of a clinical sleep problem increase the time they spend walking each day, they sleep better at night. 

Boosts Immunity
According to Harvard Health, walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. Also if they did get sick, it was for a shorter time and their symptoms were milder.

Increases Longevity
The American Cancer Society recommends adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity or walking per week. One study found that all levels of walking, even below the recommended guidelines, were associated with lower mortality risk. Participants who walked for less than 2 hours per week had a lower risk of death than those who got no activity at all. People who got 1 to 2 times the recommended level of physical activity just through walking had a 20% lower mortality risk.

How Do I Incorporate Walks Into My Daily Routine?
Park far away from your destination so you have a long walk to and from your car. Set gaps in your schedule to walk. (I am usually able to find some time after breakfast, lunch or dinner.)

Get a step tracker and set daily step count goals. For example I like to make sure by the end of the day my watch says 10,000 steps. This can also be done in the health app on iPhones or Google Fit on Android. Common goals range between 8,000 and 10,000 steps per day.

Ways To Make Walking Fun

  • Walk with friends
  • Walk your dog
  • Listen to music or podcasts while walking

For more information on all of the studies go checkout my blog at fitnessandoats.com

Jason Friedman is a NASM certified personal fitness trainer in Brentwood. He can be reached at: (310) 492-3265, jason@fitnessandoats.com.

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