I've worked with countless clients within the health & fitness space ... and there's one common issue I see when it comes to getting the best results.
And that's the fact that almost everyone tends to overcomplicate the process ... particularly when it comes to exercise.
You might think you need to spend hours in the gym to get in better shape ... but that's very far from the truth.
I'll be the first to say I love going to the gym, lifting weights ... and trying out new programs. But I'm aware that some people aren't like me ... and they aren't going to consistently go to the gym to get a workout in.
That's ok! Because there's one, extremely underrated & underutilized form of exercise out there ... that just about anyone can do.
And that's WALKING!
In this article, I'll break down 5 different benefits walking ... and show you how big of a difference walking makes for you when it comes to seeing the best possible health & wellness results.
1) Maintaining a healthy body weight & losing body fat
Walking maybe one of the best methods for maintaining a healthy body weight ... and also losing excess body fat. The key to fat loss is burning more calories than you take in. Simple as that.
What walking can do is increase the number of calories you're burning ... leading to a much easier time dropping body fat. Walking can also help you maintain a healthy body weight after you get to where you want to be.
2) Improving your cardiovascular health & preventing disease
Walking, though it may seem "easy", is a FANTASTIC way to improve your cardiovascular health. A brisk walk increases your hear rate. This leads to improved blood flow & can even contribute to lower blood pressure. Even at moderate to lower intensity ... walking offers very similar benefits to exercising at a higher intensity. (1)
Walking also helps prevent certain diseases, including:
Cardiovascular disease - Like mentioned above ... improved blood flow & lower blood pressure helps prevent cardiovascular disease. Studies also show that consistent, daily walks can help prevent plaque build-up in arteries.
Diabetes - Even moderate to low intensity physical activity (like walking) has been shown to prevent type 2 diabetes ... and improve the blood sugar response in those with type 1 diabetes. This was shown to be true in individuals who walked just 3-5 minutes every 30 minutes. (2) So you can see ... you don't need much to gain these health benefits.
Obesity - We talked about weight loss & walking above ... but sometimes we forget obesity is classified as a disease. So, if you have a good amount of weight to lose ... walking can play a HUGE role in helping you do so. Studies have shown that just a total of 3 hours of walking per week can lead to a significant reduction in body weight, fat mass, BMI ... and waist circumference. (3)
Sleep - I know getting quality sleep is tough for a lot of us, but guess what ... walking can help! Studies have shown that getting 10,000 steps per day, for around 4 week’s time ... can have a very positive effect on your sleep quality. Those in the study who consistently hit their step goal noted an easier time falling asleep, staying asleep ... and also noted a more restful sleep. (4,5)
Mental Health - Daily walks also appear to help relieve depression, anxiety, stress ... and even loneliness. More research is needed here on exactly how this translates ... but studies do show promise. (6)
3) Strengthening your bones & joints
If you didn't already know ... walking requires you to use your feet & legs, which applies resistance to your body. And that resistance helps strengthen your bones & joints. In fact, walking as little as 3 to 5 miles per week can help build bone strength ... and prevent bone disease, like osteoporosis.
4) Increasing your energy levels & improving your mood
I'm sure you've been told that if you're tired ... get up & go for a walk. There's a lot of truth to that statement. Walking helps release certain hormones & different endorphins ... and also helps deliver oxygen more efficiently throughout your body. Both can lead to improved energy levels almost instantly.
The same can be said for your mood ... because these endorphins can stimulate certain parts of your brain that pick up your mood & help with relaxation as well.
5) Boosting your immune system
Consistent walks can also help strengthen your immune system. It does so by increasing blood flow ... which can help reduce stress & inflammation. This helps immune cells perform their jobs more efficiently ... leading to less sickness & better overall health.
Now ... it's important to remember that you still need to be putting forth effort with your walks.
These benefits come from brisk walking, where you're giving effort & moving your body at a good pace. That will look different for everyone ... just know that effort does matter.
Before I wrap up, here's a few simple ways to increase how much you walk per day without having to plan too much:
-Park further away from your destination
-Use the stairs instead of the elevator
-Take a walk on a lunch break
-Take a walk while on a work call
...or even break up your walks throughout the day. Maybe you do a 10-minute walk in the morning, a 10-minute walk on a work break ... and a 10-minute walk after dinner. This totals 30 minutes for the day, and you hardly even have to think about it.
As little as 30 minutes of walking per day can help you unlock many of the benefits above.
And as you make walking more of a habit ... you can increase the speed or distance of your walks. All of which help to boost the benefits even more so.
My overall point is that you don't need to complicate health & fitness ... and you don't need to spend hours in the gym when it comes to your exercise.
Something as simple as daily 30-minute walks can quite literally be life-changing.
Don't overcomplicate the process ... and if you need help with anything health & fitness related, please know that we've got you covered! Just stop into your nearest S2 location ... and we'll help make sure you're in position to see the best possible results.
*This post was written by Andrew Lynn, who has a Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics. He is also a NASM Certified Personal Trainer and NASM Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist.
1. Williams PT, Thompson PD. Walking versus running for hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes mellitus risk reduction. Arteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology. 2013 May;33(5):1085-91.
2. Colberg SR, Sigal RJ, Yardley JE, Riddell MC, Dunstan DW, Dempsey PC, Horton ES, Castorino K, Tate DF. Physical activity/exercise and diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes care. 2016 Nov 1;39(11):2065-79.
3. Mabire L, Mani R, Liu L, Mulligan H, Baxter D. The influence of age, sex and body mass index on the effectiveness of brisk walking for obesity management in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Physical Activity and Health. 2017 May 1;14(5):389-407.
4. Hori H, Ikenouchi-Sugita A, Yoshimura R, Nakamura J. Does subjective sleep quality improve by a walking intervention? A real-world study in a Japanese workplace. BMJ open. 2016 Oct 1;6(10).
5. Tang MF, Chiu HY, Xu X, Kwok JY, Cheung DS, Chen CY, Lin CC. Walking is more effective than yoga at reducing sleep disturbance in cancer patients: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Sleep medicine reviews. 2019 Oct 1;47:1-8.
6. Kelly P, Williamson C, Niven AG, Hunter R, Mutrie N, Richards J. Walking on sunshine: scoping review of the evidence for walking and mental health. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2018 Jun 1;52(12):800-6.