The Not-So-Obvious Benefits of Walking

Most of us know that walking is good for us. We might feel happier after a stroll with the dog, more relaxed after we go for a hike, less tired after we walk around the neighborhood—but do we really know the stats? The following studies explain some lesser known facts about walking that may make you tie up your sneakers and head out the door.

One study found that just burning 150 calories a day through physical activity can decrease risk of coronary artery disease by 50 percent. It can also decrease risk of colon cancer, high blood pressure, and diabetes by 30 percent. On average, it takes an 150 pound individual 38 minutes at a brisk walk or 53 minutes at a slow paced walk to burn 150 calories, so plan accordingly! Although longer walks like these may have more health benefits, according to a different study, walking just four blocks a day can still increase health benefits in sedentary older adults.

Another study compared cardiac patients by administering two different interventions. One group of people underwent surgery for a stent, while the other group simply added daily aerobic exercise to their routine (200 minutes/week). One year later, the participants that were physically active were 88 percent event-free, while the participants with the stents were only 70 percent event-free. In this case, exercise seemed to work even better than a high tech surgery.

The Not-So-Obvious Benefits of Walking

Through numerous other studies American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has discovered more benefits that occur with walking. Here are five fun facts from their website that you may not know:

  • Walking 45 minutes a day cuts the odds of catching a cold in half.
  • Walking six miles week can cuts the risk in half of developing Alzheimer’s disease over five years.  
  • Walking 20 minutes a day will burn 7 pounds of body fat each year.
  • Walking triggers endorphins, promotes relaxation, and prevents anxiety and depression.
  • Prostate cancer patients who walk 90 minutes/week have nearly 50 percent lower mortality rate.

Next time you come to Medfit, try hopping on one of our treadmills and you too will see some of these health benefits. Prefer walking outdoors? No problem, take a walk around the beautiful lake and golf course that surround our facility. No one will judge you if you want to take a long soak in our hot tub or relax in our steam room afterwards!