7 Surprising Benefits of Walking

Walking isn't just about exercise; it's a simple, daily habit with remarkable benefits for your body and mind.

By URLife Team
01 Sep 2023

Walking isn’t always the quickest way to shed weight or lose inches. But, walking isn’t just about the physical transformation, it’s way beyond that. Consistent walking can work wonders for you; physically, mentally and emotionally.


Walking, the most basic form of physical activity, is often underestimated in its potential to improve our health and well-being. It's an activity that requires no special equipment, can be done almost anywhere. 


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Keep on reading to explore the numerous benefits of walking, from its role in active recovery to its ability to prevent various diseases.


Benefits of Walking

1. Active Recovery

After every workout recovery period is a must.  Walking as an exercise helps to keep your muscles moving and active. Whether you're a professional athlete or simply an active individual, walking can be an excellent form of active recovery. After a strenuous workout, a leisurely walk can help reduce muscle soreness and stiffness. It promotes blood flow to your muscles, aiding in the removal of waste products and the transport of essential nutrients, which can speed up the recovery process. This gentle form of exercise is also a fantastic way to maintain mobility and prevent post-exercise discomfort.


2. Soothe Body Aches

In a 2018 study by the University of Chicago researchers discovered that walking was just as effective as physical therapy in treating lower back pain. Another study published in the American Joirnal of Preventive Medicine, which involved over 1,500 adults found that only one hour of walking each week helped people with joint pain delay disability


Walking isn't just beneficial for post-workout recovery; it can also provide relief from everyday body aches. If you spend long hours sitting at a desk or engaging in repetitive activities, you may experience tension and discomfort in your muscles and joints. A brisk walk can help alleviate this discomfort by increasing circulation and promoting the release of endorphins, your body's natural painkillers. Additionally, walking encourages good posture, which can reduce the strain on your neck, shoulders, and lower back.


Related Post: The Many Powerful Benefits Of Walking Every Day


3. Disease Prevention

Name any disease and you will find ample research stating the benefits of exercise to mitigate or prevent the disease. This itself stands as a strong proof of the benefits of exercise. 


A 2023 research by American Institute for Cancer advises 30-minute brisk walks, five times per week, to lower cancer risk.


Here are some key conditions that walking can help mitigate:

a. Cardiovascular Conditions 

According to a 2023 study presented by University of Cambridge, 11 minutes a day of brisk walking is sufficient to lower the risk of diseases such as heart disease, stroke and a number of cancers.


Regular walking has been linked to improved heart health. It can lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of coronary artery disease, and enhance overall cardiovascular fitness. It's an accessible way to keep your heart strong and lower the risk of heart-related ailments.


b. Type 2 Diabetes

According to a 2023 study presented by George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, a 15-minute walk after each meal appears to help older people regulate their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.


Walking can aid in weight management and improve insulin sensitivity, making it an effective tool in preventing and managing type 2 diabetes. A daily walk can help regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.


c. Osteoporosis

As per a 2017 report by University of Exeter, one minute of running per day was associated with better bone health in women. 


In a 2018 study by American Journal of Preventive Medicine, researchers discovered that walking was just as effective as physical therapy in treating low back pain. 


Another 2018 study, which involved over 1,500 adults and was published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that only one hour of walking each week helped people with joint pain delay disability


Muscular endurance activities like walking are excellent for bone health. Regular walking can increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis, especially in postmenopausal women.


Related Post: Challenge Your Calves With These Walking Exercises


4. Improve Balance

Walking is not only good for strength endurance, but also challenges your brain and nervous system, which in return aids in staying upright. Maintaining good balance is essential for daily activities and becomes even more critical as we age. Regular walking can help improve balance and stability. It engages the muscles in your legs and core, enhancing your proprioception (the sense of where your body is in space). This is particularly valuable in preventing falls among older adults. For those at risk of balance-related issues, incorporating walking into their routine can be a proactive step toward staying mobile and independent.


5. Bolster Mental Health

As per a 2014 University of Michigan Health System study, walking helps in warding off stress and depression.


One of the most significant benefits of walking is its positive impact on mental health. Taking a brisk walk can release endorphins, often referred to as "feel-good" hormones. These endorphins can reduce feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression, promoting a sense of well-being and relaxation.


Additionally, walking in natural surroundings, such as parks or forests, is known to have a calming effect, reducing symptoms of mental fatigue and improving mood. The rhythmic nature of walking can also be meditative, helping to clear your mind and enhance your mental clarity.


6. Enhanced Brain Performance 

Walking isn't just beneficial for your body; it's great for your brain too. Research has shown that regular walking can boost cognitive function and memory. It increases blood flow to the brain, supplying it with essential oxygen and nutrients, which can improve focus and decision-making abilities.


Furthermore, walking provides an opportunity for creative thinking and problem-solving. Many great thinkers, from Aristotle to Steve Jobs, were known for their daily walks, as it's an excellent way to stimulate the mind.


Related Post: Do You Really Have To Walk 10,000 Steps A Day?


7. Connecting with Nature

In today’s urbanised lifestyles, it's easy to lose touch with the natural world. Walking offers a simple and effective way to reconnect with nature. Whether you're wandering through a local park, hiking in the woods, or strolling along the beach, walking immerses you in the sights, sounds, and smells of the great outdoors. This connection to nature has been linked to reduced stress, improved mood, and enhanced overall well-being. Also, try to keep changing your walking routes to experience a new sight everyday, which becomes more alluring to eyes.


Need all your wellness solutions in one place? A whole new world awaits just a click away.


Incorporating regular walks into your daily routine is a simple yet effective way to reap the numerous benefits that walking has to offer. From the physical advantages of weight management and disease prevention to the mental and emotional benefits of reconnecting with nature and reducing stress, walking is a holistic approach to enhancing your overall well-being. So, lace up your walking shoes, step outside, and start enjoying the many advantages of this timeless and accessible activity. Your body and mind will thank you for it.


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