I Walk at Least 30 Minutes Every Single Day & You Should Too

The single best way to be in charge of your own health

Photo by Katie McBroom on Unsplash

The human body is meant to move and I mean that in a serious manner.

There is always a delicate balance between resting and engaging our bodies in some physical activity but I feel like we have tipped this balance to the resting side more often than not.

The average U.S. adult sits for around 6.5 hours every day and for teenagers ages 12–19, that number shoots up to 8 hours a day.

What could be the reason?

Simply put, we have stuff at home to keep ourselves engaged. If we are bored, we just use our phones, laptops, and computers for hours and hours.

If we want to watch something fun, we may turn on the TV and proceed to watch a new drama or show.

If we don’t feel like cooking, we can always order food from those food delivery apps and get it straight delivered to us.

Even our jobs are proving to be more sedentary with sedentary jobs having increased by 83% since 1950.

That is why when COVID-19 started and my classes shifted online, I knew I was going to spend most of my time at home sitting.

But I didn’t want to do that and so I resolved to do something about it.

To get the most results out of anything, you have to put in the hard work consistently. In simple words, form a habit.

So I did just that and slowly but surely formed a habit of walking for 30 minutes every single day.

I didn’t care if it was going to be raining that day. I still put in 30 minutes every day and that has served me very well.

These are some of the reasons why I walk at least 30 minutes a day:

It is one of the easiest, most simple, and best ways to improve your health.

Walking doesn’t get the same appreciation as other exercises, such as running or weight training, because walking isn’t hard.

But because something isn’t demanding on the body doesn’t mean it’s not good for the body.

In fact, walking is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of certain diseases and conditions.

Walking has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, arthritis, etc.

One study showed that:

  • Running reduced the risk of elevated cholesterol by 4.3% while walking reduced it by 7%.
  • Running reduced the risk of diabetes by 12.1% while walking reduced it by 12.3%.

As you can see, walking had an even better impact on health than running, and that is probably because both exercises activate the same muscle groups.

Another study showed that walking for 30 minutes or more every day can lower the risk of heart disease by 35% and type 2 diabetes by 40%.

To gain all of these benefits, all you have to do is put on your walking shoes and go outside and walk.

Even if you are too lazy to walk outside, you can walk inside of your home provided you have enough space.

Walking is not too particularly demanding on the body and with these benefits, it’s not surprising that walking ranks as one of the easiest and best exercises for the body.

It strengthens bones and adds years to your life.

This is a classic case of use it or lose it.

Our bodies are meant to be exercised on a regular basis. Our hunters & gatherers ancestors were constantly on the move whether for running away from predators or trying to catch their next meal.

As such, our bodies respond favorably to exercise and because bone is a living tissue, it becomes stronger with exercise. The more we use our legs and feet, the more weight and stress our bones are exposed to and this makes them stronger.

After age 40, bone strength decreases by 1% every year and add to the fact that 14 million Americans who are age 50 and older suffer from osteoporosis, then you can see how it’s important to have strong bones.

Weight-bearing exercises have been shown to both slow bone loss and build bone mainly because these exercises provide stress which in turn strengthens bone.

People assume that higher-impact exercises such as jogging and running are better than walking for strengthening bones and that is true for the most part.

However, walking is also just as good for the lower body since the legs and feet have to support both your body and the walking movements.

Some of the world’s longest living people who live in “blue zones” all have several traits in common with one trait being that they are constantly moving.

These people live in environments where they are required to physically move their bodies in order to get their work done and to stay healthy.

Because of their physical activity and other traits such as following the Mediterranean diet and having a good social circle, these people are able to live for so long while also not having chronic diseases.

When I walk for 30 minutes a day, I feel energized and my legs feel stronger than before. Due to COVID-19, I am sometimes guilty of sitting at home for too long.

When I do sit for too long, my legs become almost limp and sore. I find that when I regularly walk and try not to sit too much throughout the day, my legs and feet remain active and pain-free.

Walking improves the immune system and boosts brain power.

Walking is a form of exercise and like all exercises, walking also improves and stimulates the immune system.

When you walk, you increase blood flow around your body and this increases the circulation of white blood cells while also ridding the body of toxins.

One study found that in people aged 65 who did regular exercise, the number of T-cells (white blood cell) in their body was comparatively as high as people in their 30s.

Another study showed that women who walked for 30 minutes every day for 1 year had half the number of colds as people who didn’t exercise.

Not only is walking good for the immune system, but is also excellent for the brain.

Just like any exercise, walking helps boost blood flow to the brain while also strengthening and forming new neural synapses and neurons.

Researchers at New Mexico Highlands University (NMHU) found that the foot’s impact during walking sends pressure waves through the arteries that significantly increases blood flow to the brain.

In another study, brisk walking was shown to improve brain health in old people with memory impairments. Old people with early signs of memory loss were able to raise their cognitive scores after they started regularly walking.

Takeaways

The purpose of writing this article was to show you that sometimes staying simple is the best route to take.

Sure, working out, lifting weights, pumping iron, doing a ton of different exercises, etc. are all excellent and promote well-being and health in the human body.

However, I don’t want anyone to look at walking as an ineffective exercise because it certainly is not.

We are constantly pressed for time and through checking our phones on a minute-to-minute basis, handling our families, having to manage our lives both at work and home, we sometimes find it almost impossible to look after ourselves.

So the best way to improve your health exercise-wise is to simply walk.

If you want to time yourself, make sure you get at least 30 minutes of walking every day or if you want to count the number of steps, make sure you get at least 7,500 daily steps.

You might be thinking that the magic number of steps is 10,000 and that is partially true. While there is no harm in walking more, research has shown that any additional benefits gained after 7,500 seem to level off.

If you want to reach this amount of steps, it’s best to spread it throughout your day.

You can:

  • Park your car farther away
  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Walk around in your free time
  • Walk instead of drive for very close destinations

Now that you are done reading this article, please go walk. It will definitely help you!

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Samir S.

Samir S.

Writing to Inform, Educate, & Teach | Obsessed with Health & Wellness | https://samir-s.medium.com/subscribe