This article was updated on September 24, 2021.
We all know by now that walking is good for us. It can reduce the risk of diabetes and cancer and improving blood pressure and cholesterol. It’s also safe, accessible, and free, which makes it a perfect lifelong exercise routine.
In addition to its well-known health benefits, there are some lesser-known benefits—as well as its beneficial effects for weight loss.
Walking for immunity
One of the lesser-known benefits of walking is how it affects our immune functioning. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine showed that “among the 1,000 participants studied, those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week, had 43-percent fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less.”
So, in a year when sickness and immunity are at the front of everyone’s minds, now might be the best time to develop a regular walking routine. It might just be the difference between getting sick and not.
Walking for joint pain
While some of us might associate exercise with joint pain, walking can actually help decrease joint pain. According to Harvard Health, “Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place.” None of us want to end up with joint pain or arthritis, and walking is such a simple remedy and preventative measure.
So, take a stroll every day (or at least every week) to help your joints out.
Walking for weight loss
It isn’t a secret that exercise can lead to weight loss. And walking is no exception. A 2009 study found that those who walked regularly over a 15-year period gained significantly less weight than those who did not, and the more people walked, the more weight they kept off.
Walking is an enjoyable, sustainable, and effective way to maintain a healthy weight over the years, and all evidence points to it being a beneficial long-term habit.
The time of day that is best for walking
When we walk can also influence the impacts that walking has on our health. Some studies have shown that walking after a meal may be the best time to gain the most benefits from your walks. It can aid digestion, increase satiety after eating, and help to lower blood sugar. This is particularly helpful for those with diabetes, as “the increased movement is able to remove some of the excess sugar in the blood and put it to work in muscle tissue.”
What should we take from all of this? We know that daily exercise is great for us — if you’re not walking daily already, try doing so. And if you are already, maybe you should switch up when you take your daily stroll.
Implementing a walking habit and gift your body with some extra, healthy benefits. You’ll thank yourself later.