1. Heart health
Walking has a lowering effect on blood pressure and a positive impact on cholesterol. Walking briskly for approximately 30 minutes each day has been associated with a 19 per cent reduction in coronary heart disease (CHD) risk.
2. Type 2 diabetes management
Regular walking helps to control blood glucose levels and improve insulin action in the body. Walking briskly for approximately 30 minutes each day has been associated with reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes by up to 50 per cent.
3. Reducing the risk of developing certain cancers
According to a 2010 study, five hours of brisk walking each week can lower hormone levels in women that increase breast and endometrial cancers.
4. Maintaining strong bones
Regular walking can help to reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and fractures, helping to keep joints lubricated and assisting overall osteoarthritis management.
5. Wellbeing and mood regulation
Ever had a terrible day, gone for a walk and felt a whole lot brighter? Walking increases your natural serotonin levels, helping to boost mood and manage stress.
How long should adults walk for per day?
Dr Walker explains while there aren’t daily set guidelines for walking specifically, current daily physical activity recommendations for adults are at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
“This would be equivalent to walking between 20-45 minutes daily at a walking pace where there is a noticeable change in breathing rate, but you are still able to maintain a conversation uninterrupted,” he says.
If you can’t make that duration, Dr Walker advises to not throw in the towel as walking for even a short period is better than not walking at all.
“Don’t be hard on yourself if 30 minutes of walking feels like an unachievable goal, our bodies need time to adapt to the increase in a new physical challenge.”
To ease back into it, Dr Walker advises to start with a walking amount that is manageable for you and to be consistent.