9 Reasons to Start Walking Today

The majority of us spend a large part of our day at work, leading largely sedentary lifestyles. One of the simplest and most effective ways to get some additional exercise in is to walk. Recent evidence suggesting that regular brisk walks could be as good for us, or possibly better than jogging.

Although 30 minutes of walking daily is the recommended ideal, you don't need to fit it in all at once.  If you find yourself struggling to set aside 30 minutes a day, you can split the walk into 3 ten minute stints, or a couple of 15-minute journeys. 

Here are nine reasons to start walking today:

1. Walking Helps Manage Weight

Walking may seem leisurely but research has shown that it can be effective in reducing and controlling weight especially when combined with a healthy diet. Researchers at the University of Quebec found that women who walked more weighed less and had a smaller percentage of body fat.

2. Strengthens Bones and Joints

Walking is easier on your joints than high-impact activities such as running or aerobics but it is still a form of weight bearing. Weight bearing exercises have long been known to strengthen bones reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis as well as osteoarthritis. Walking just 30 minutes a day a few times a week is enough to increase bone density ~2% compared to non-exercisers.

3. It Lowers Your Risk of Heart Disease

Walking can improve circulation, ward of heart disease, strengthen the heart, reduce cholesterol and lower blood pressure. In fact researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that walking was as good as running when it came to your heart health. 

4. It's Good for your Brain

Walking has extensive cognitive benefits, improving memory, academic performance cognitive control and boosting creativity. It also improves circulation and cerebral blood flood which may help slow mental decline as you age. Studies from the University of Pittsburg have shown that seniors who walk at least 6 miles (9.6km) a week have reduced brain shrinkage. The 2014 World Alzheimer's Report also listed regular exercise is one of the best ways to combat the onset and advancement of the disease.

5. Decrease Your Cancer Risk

Walking may reduce your risk of developing some cancers. Women who walk at least seven hours a week are 14% less likely to develop breast cancer according to research while men treated for prostrate cancer who walk briskly at least three hours a week reduce their chances of recurrence.

6. Prevent or Control Diabetes

Walking can help lower your blood sugar levels, helping to control and prevent diabetes. Several studies have found that as little as fifteen minutes of walking after a meal will improve digestion and even out blood sugar levels. Additionally, even small amounts of weight loss can reduce risk factors, and delay or prevent the onset of the disease. 

7. It Can Make You Happier

A study performed by California State University found that the more steps people took throughout the day, the better their moods were due to the production of endorphins. It has also been cited as a way to reduce stress levels.

8. Walking Leads to Longer Life

A number of different researchers have found that walking can increase your longevity. The Honolulu heart study found walking just 2 miles (3.2km) a day can cut the risk of death in half, while another study found that those who partake in regular exercise in their fifties and sixties are 3.5% less likely to to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts. If they already have underlying health conditions that figure increases to 4.5%.

9. It Can Reduce Your Risk of Stroke

Researchers have found that women who walk at a brisk pace for exercise have a much lower chance of having a stroke than those who didn't after a large long term study. The study theorised that the reduced risk of stroke was due to walking's ability to decrease blood pressure, which is a strong risk factor for stroke.

Following the completion of the 10,000 steps challenge, Monash Sport will be implementing a weekly walking group for all staff members at the Caulfield and Clayton campuses.

Clayton
Date: Every Tuesday from the December 1, 2015
Time: 1:00 - 1:45pm (approx.)
Where: Meet at the Lemon Scented Lawn

Caulfield
Date: Every Wednesday starting December 2, 2015
Time: 12 - 12:45pm (approx.)
Where: Meet at the Sound Shell