The benefits of walking are well documented. From helping you lose weight and de-stress to lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of many chronic diseases. Regular walking is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health. WHY? – because walking is very easy to do, requires nothing but a pair of comfortable shoes, and has tremendous mental and physical benefits. It is one of the most effective low-impact ways to positively alter your body composition. Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss; increasingly important as we age!
Here’s just some of the benefits that you can expect when you start walking for just 30 minutes every day, most days of the week.
It’s true – exercise boosts your mood. Studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, releasing feel-good endorphins while reducing stress and anxiety. So for positive mental health, walking’s an absolute must. You know how sometimes it takes a glass of wine or a square (or three) of chocolate to blunt the edge of a rough day? Well, going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy with the same benefits.
Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility. What’s more, when you make your walks social — you stride with, say, a colleague, or a good friend that interaction helps you feel connected, which boosts mood. Finally, walking outdoors exposes you to natural sunlight, which can help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) making it a potential antidote for the winter blues. Plus if you are walking outside it boosts vitamin D too! We all need to get outside more. Many people in the UK are vitamin D deficient, affecting important things like bone health and our immune systems. Walking is the perfect way to enjoy the outdoors while getting your vitamin D fix.
Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes. This can reduce the risk by up to 27 percent.
Whether you’re feeling overwhelmed; stuck at work or you’ve been searching for a solution to a dilemma, research shows it’s a good idea to get moving: According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters!
This one may seem obvious, but it’s certainly a happy benefit for those who start walking regularly. As you continue to walk, you may notice your trousers begin to fit more loosely around your midsection, even if the number on the scale isn’t moving much. That’s because regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat. You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Up your speed to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, while 4mph is 150 calories (equivalent to three Jaffa cakes and a jam doughnut!). If you can incorporate that short walk into your daily routine and you’ll shed the pounds in no time.
This is significant – the statistics are impressive: The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. One of the most cited studies on walking and health was published in the New England Journal of Medicine some time ago. They found that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines (30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week) had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly.
If you are interested in finding out more about increasing activity in your workplace? Perhaps you want to participate in the nationwide On Your Feet Day or simply just want to get more active and don’t know how. We offer activity workshops, wellness coaching, step challenges and lifestyle assessments to name but a few tools in the Tonic toolbox. Please contact us today to find out how we can help: Check out our Wellbeing Workshops and get you, your colleagues, your family and friends walking more!
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