The Truth About How walking impacts your overall health
Updated: Jan 28
Author: Dr. Blaise Ntacyabukura
Daybreak on the 10th of October, Byon8 joined Team Jasho running club on a mental health awareness walkathon to emphasize the importance of mental health wellness and self-care to fight the stigma associated with seeking professional help when in psychological distress. Walking is not only meant to aid your physical health it greatly improves your mental health as well.
Factually, extended sitting time appears to be an independent risk factor for deteriorating health. This risk may be higher among people who sit for prolonged, uninterrupted periods than those who sit for shorter, interrupted periods. It is essential to stay physically active not only during sports time but also everywhere.
Walking is the most appropriate and convenient way to stay physically active. Like other physical exercises, more excellent walking in midlife is associated with compression of sickness in later years with a decreased risk of multiple chronic conditions in the last five years of life. More on that, active and regular walking appears to have reduced all-cause, heart, and cancer-related deaths compared with sedentary individuals.
But who does walking affect?
Persons who engage in as little as one to two 75-minute sessions of active and regular walking per week (“weekend warriors”). Habitual walking significantly reduces the risk of heart diseases such as coronary disease, cardiac events, and cardiovascular death. It may also provide modest protection against breast, intestinal, bladder, kidney, lung, stomach, esophageal, prostate, endometrial, and pancreatic cancers.
For diabetic patients, intensive and regular walking may improve blood sugar control as well as insulin sensitivity and prevent the development of type 2 diabetes in high-risk groups.
For people who need to lose weight or stay lean, intensive and regular walking coupled with a weight loss diet alone is associated with a more significant reduction in body fat and enhanced preservation of lean body mass, compared with a weight loss diet alone.
Walking also helps mental health, allowing exploring the natural environment; however, it may also expose you to its outside environmental hazards. But unlike other types of exercise, walking is associated with little risk of muscle or bone injuries, irregular heartbeat, sudden cardiac death, etc.
The above described advantageous effects of walking appear to be dose-dependent, but making it a habit is much more beneficial. You can achieve this by adapting your environment to walking, taking stairs instead of lifts, and availing yourself time with your family or friends, and walking around.
If you have any concerns about walking, such as joint problems, obesity, or other health conditions, kindly reach out to our online medical doctors in the BYON8 mobile app for personalized recommendations.
Until next time, stay well.
Donnelly, et al. American College of Sports Medicine Position Stand. Appropriate physical activity intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of weight regain for adults. Medicine and science in sports and exercise, 41(2), 459–471. https://doi.org/10.1249/MSS.0b013e3181949333