On paper, walking isn’t the most exciting form of exercise. But it’s usually the most practical. Sure, I’d rather ski or rollerblade on my work breaks, but the former costs way too much (and unless you’re in a Dubai mall, requires a mountain), while the latter isn’t always practical, and often spells danger.
Assuming you aren’t run over, walking can do wonders for your health. Of course, that’s not really news. But if “It’s good for you,” isn’t enough motivation, here are 5 reasons why you should start walking — now.
1. Walk Off Stress
A recent study found that sedentary office workers who walked for 30 minutes during their lunch break, three times a week, saw positive results — immediately. Asked how they felt after returning to work, the participants reported being less tense and more relaxed than before they took a stroll.
2. Protect Your Heart
A number of studies have shown that women who walk briskly for more than three hours a week had a significant drop in their risk for heart disease. Do the math and that comes out to less than 30 minutes a day — more than enough time to listen to half of the "Frozen" soundtrack.
3. Manage Joint Pain
When your knees ache, walking may seem like the last thing you want to do. Thing is, low impact exercise (e.g. walking) can actually thwart joint pain. “Staying in motion actually helps to keep pain away,” says Dr. Moshe Lewis, MD, MPH.
4. Lower Your Blood Sugar
Sometimes it’s tempting to drink an entire bottle of maple syrup after dinner. But here’s a much healthier idea: Take a walk instead. According to a study published in Diabetes Care, three short walks a day, after each meal, were as effective at reducing blood sugar over 24 hours as a single 45-minute walk at the same moderate pace.
5. Boost Your Immune System
Everyone around you seem sick lately? Turns out you don’t need to become the next “Bubble Boy” to protect yourself from whatever’s going around. All you need to do is walk more. According to the NIH, a daily stroll could help your immune system fight off simple bacterial and viral infections. Don’t be bubble boy. Go for a walk.
If you’ve made it this far and you’re thinking: But it’s sooo cold outside, I don’t want to go for a walk, well, take the stairs! Don’t have stairs? Walk around your office! If Jean in accounting gives you a bad look, just make an Excel joke. Here’s one:
A pivot table walks in to a bar and orders a beer. It says, “Put me in the same tab, will ya?”
Get it? No? Forget it — just take a walk already.