Walking is one of the best and most accessible forms of exercise on the planet. It’s easy to squeeze into your schedule once or even multiple times a day. You can do it alone or with friends. And you don’t need any special equipment or training other than a good pair of sneakers and the willingness to put one foot in front of the other.
Even better, according to growing scientific evidence, taking frequent walks can be just as helpful to our health as participating in other athletic endeavors. This may help account for walking’s growing cult following.
Time of day isn't highest priority, so find what works for you. Some enjoy the calming benefits of a morning walk, while others tout the benefits of walking barefoot. Whatever suits you, the point is to simply move more throughout the day.
And while absolutely everyone can benefit from daily walks, regular exercise has been shown to be especially important if you have been diagnosed with or are at risk for developing prediabetes. As part of the Yes Health program, we recommend walking as an easy fitness activity to help members lose extra weight and increase their overall sense of well-being.
“A 7% loss in weight combined with increased physical activity of at least 150 minutes per week resulted in a 58% lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.”—Center for Disease Prevention and Control
1.Walking lightens our mood. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were. This is because walking releases natural endorphins throughout the body leaving us feeling happy and at ease.
2. Walking improves circulation. A brisk stroll brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart muscle, all while giving us a healthy glow.
3. Walking can lead to weight loss. Adding a brisk walk to your daily routine is one of the easiest ways to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Just 30 minutes burns 200 calories. Over time, this can lead to shedding unwanted pounds. Add a healthy diet and you’re off to the races!
4. Walking keeps bones strong. Walking is a perfect form of weight-bearing exercise, which helps prevent the bone-thinning condition known as osteoporosis, as well as osteoarthritis, the degenerative disease that causes joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
5. Walking strengthens muscles. In addition to toning your leg and abdominal muscles, walking can even help strengthen your arm muscles if you pump them or carry light weights as you go.
6. Walking improves sleep. Walking lowers stress levels and improves our circulation, leading to a more restful and relaxed mind and body at the end of the day.
7. Walking boosts heart health. Walking can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels, and in turn reduce your risk for heart disease.
8. Walking keeps the brain sharp. Walking, which improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease, may also help prevent dementia, the cognitive loss that often accompanies old age.
9. Walking can help prevent or control diabetes. Brisk walking can help stop, slow down or reverse the onset of diabetes. Just 20-30 minutes a day–especially after meals– can help lower blood sugar levels for a whopping 24 hours following your stroll.
10. It’s free. Some of the best things in life are still free. Walking is definitely one of them. Just make sure you have a pair of supportive shoes before you hit the pavement, or trail, or treadmill or stairs… (you get the idea).
Whether it's sneaking in ten minutes a few times a day or taking a long walk once per day, the benefits of walking 30 minutes per day (or less!) are pretty amazing for your health. Reach out to your coaches in-app if you need help strategizing your walking schedule.