With all this extra time on our hands due to COVID19, it’s a good time to look at the unbelievable benefits of walking. This article will inspire you to negate your inner couch potato and get out and walk!
I take a 30 minute walk everyday, but I don’t think it’s enough. I work from home and it’s pretty easy to get involved in an interesting task, and not get up for hours. But, I am changing this as of Tuesday and I’d like to share some research with you on the unbelievable benefits of walking.
First of all the not so good news
Below is an excerpt from a CNN article called Americans sit too much, CDC says, by Susan Scutti:
“You’ve heard it before, but the message is still urgent: One in four US adults sits for more than eight hours a day, according to a new study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Four in 10 adults do not exercise to either a vigorous or even moderate degree each week, the analysis also reveals.
Add to that, one in every 10 Americans reports both behaviors — sitting for more than eight hours a day and being physically inactive — according to the study, published Tuesday (the article is dated November 20, 2018) in the medical journal JAMA.”
But we are in this awful quarantine and the more I sit the more I sit, you might exclaim! And I understand! I’m fed up with it too, but I’ve committed to going on two walks a day. I’ve already gotten into the habit of walking in the morning, after I have my coffee of course. But I’m going to take another walk in the afternoon. And just remember, once you get out there you’ll be so happy! The number one starter benefit is you’re off the couch! The second one is you get to enjoy this beautiful springtime weather and all the sights and sounds that go with it.
Now.. for the unbelievable benefits of walking
So let’s take a look at some of the unbelievable benefits of walking. I read an article from the Wall Street Journal (you need a subscription to read the whole article) called Why Walking Matters–Now MoreThan Ever, by Shane O’Mara, who’s book called “In Praise of Walking: A New Scientific Exploration” is set to be published on May 12, 2020.
He says since gyms are closed, and sports activities are banned, walking is an excellent form of exercise that anyone can do. And I would add, you can walk almost anywhere at almost any time of the day.
You may have heard of studies stating that walking 30 minutes a day can help ease the symptoms of depression and many people may be feeling depressed during this “quaran-time.”
Our whole way of life has been turned upside down. We are prohibited from visiting friends and family (unless we live with them of course), we can’t go to concerts, sporting events, restaurants, bars, festivals, gather in the park, ski, shop at the mall, or whatever your favorite activities may be. We can only go to places that provide essential services.
The good news is, walking is not prohibited (but don’t forget to social distance if others are out and about). It’s a great opportunity to get outside, and you can ask your family members and kids to come with you. Or, for some much needed “you” time, you can go alone.
In the quote below from O’Mara’s article Why Walking Matters–Now More Than Ever he discusses what walking does for the brain and physical wellbeing:
“… walking can be a kind of a behavioral preventive against depression. It benefits us on many levels, physical and psychological. Walking helps to produce protein molecules in muscle and brain that help repair wear and tear. These muscle and brain molecules—myokines and neurotrophic factors, respectively—have been intensively studied in recent years for their health effects. We are discovering that they act almost as a kind of fertilizer that assists in the growth of cells and regulation of metabolism. They also reduce certain types of inflammation.
These essential molecules are produced by movement and the increased brain and body activity created by movement. If you’re not moving about, placing heart and muscle under a bit of positive stress and strain, these molecules aren’t produced in sufficient quantities to perform their roles.”
So walking helps with depression, helps repair wear and tear on the muscles, and helps us grow gardens in our heads (kind of, anyway)! These truly are some unbelievable benefits of walking!
When you walk, your brain is more active then when sitting down (couch potato-ing) and O’Mara goes on to say “…walking helps you discover things faster then if you are just sitting down.”
I know that if I’ve been working on some challenging assignment or studying something new and I feel a brain explosion, I know it’s time for a break to “clear my head.”
It also revs up creativity. When I go on a walking break (and sometimes it’s doing a few circuits around the house or maybe up and down my street), the solution to a challenge I might be having pops into my head. I get new ideas for writing, or come up with a creative idea on how I can better use social media marketing strategy. On my walk today, I even come up with an idea for a game show!
If I’ve studied something for 2 or 3 hours, taking a walk helps me reflect on what I’ve learned and reach a deeper level of understanding or figure out some complex concept I didn’t quite understand.
Returning to O’Mara’s article, (be advised of the foreboding of getting older):
“Recent experiments show that as few as three or four days of inactivity reduces muscle mass in the legs, starting to replace muscle with deposits of fat. This isn’t much of a problem when you’re 30, but it is when you are 60, needing assistance to stand up from your chair. The cure? Get up, walk about and fight the frailty that can come with aging.”
Additional benefits from Harvard Research
A study from Harvard Research, explains additional benefits of walking:
- Walking 30 minutes a day can reduce obesity producing genes up to 50%.
- It helps reduce sugar cravings.
- It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer in women who walk seven or more hours per week.
- It helps curb arthritis related pain and walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from developing in the first place.
- It revs up your immune system and who doesn’t want that now, especially during this COVID19 pandemic!
- It helps you sleep better and gives you more energy!
So, are you up for some movement? Are you ready to leave your couch potato ways (not completely of course)? Do you want to feel better, think better, sleep better and boost your creativity! Well then my friend you have just ascribed to the unbelievable benefits of walking. So get started :)!
Until next Thursday…