The 10 benefits of walking, according to science
Walking or walking is one of the exercises that, besides being pleasant, can make you feel better . Many think that if the exercise is not of high intensity it is not possible to benefit from physical activity. But walking or walking is free, it's easy and it's safe in terms of injuries.
Walking is an aerobic exercise and as such it provides many benefits for the people who practice it. For example, a study conducted by the University of Tennessee found that women who walked daily had less body fat than those who did not, and had a lower risk of blood clots.
So, the next time you decide to sit on the sofa, think about going for a walk , because, in addition to enjoying the landscape, you'll get both psychological and physical benefits.
Related article: "The 10 psychological benefits of practicing physical exercise"
The benefits of walking
But, what are the benefits of walking? Next we explain them to you.
1. It helps you sleep better
Walking helps release serotonin (5-HT), a neurotransmitter that is derived from an amino acid called tryptophan . One of its functions is increase the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles . In addition, to be able to rest and be calm, serotonin intervenes in the control of stress and body temperature.
Strolling increases serotonin levels so it helps you sleep better. A study that was carried out at the University of Sao Paulo that evaluated a group of subjects with insomnia, and compared the effect that both moderate aerobic exercise (for example, walking) and vigorous aerobic exercise had on them, concluded that the Moderate aerobic exercise was the one that achieved the greatest benefits regarding sleep quality.
2. Improves the mood
A study by California State University in Long Beach showed that The more steps you take, the better your mood . Why? As stated in the previous point, walking releases serotonin, better known as the happiness chemical. But, in addition, it also releases endorphins, natural opiates that make us feel really good.
3. Improves circulation
Walking improves blood circulation and prevents cardiovascular diseases .
A study from the University of Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that the subjects of their research who walked one to two miles a day, lowered their blood pressure by almost 11 points in 24 weeks. The subjects who walked half an hour a day reduced the risk of having a heart attack by 20 percent.
4. Increase life expectancy
As stated by an investigation of the School of Medicine at the University of Michigan, those 50 or 60 year olds who walk regularly have a 35 percent less chance of dying in the next eight years for those who do not walk.
5. Prevents cognitive deterioration
A study conducted by the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF), in which 6000 subjects aged 65 or older participated, found that the more we walk, the more cognitive deterioration slows down. The subjects who walked 2.5 miles a day had 17 percent less in terms of memory loss.
6. Reduces the risk of Alzheimer's
A study that was conducted in the Health System of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville found that men aged 71 to 93 who walked a quarter of a mile a day had a 50 percent lower risk of Alzheimer's , compared to those men of the same age who did not walk.
7. Walking makes you lose weight
Walking is an excellent exercise to lose weight when someone is still not in good physical condition. For weight loss, especially in the initial phases, aerobic work such as walking is optimal, as it is easy to perform, it hardly involves a risk of injury and generates a predictable and regular energy expenditure. Being a low impact activity does not exert tension on your body as you would run, jump or even dance. This makes it ideal for older adults, people with a tendency to joint pain and anyone who wants to leave the sedentary life behind and live a more active life.
When it comes to burning fat, physical activity and daily activities require between 20% to 30% of the total energy reserve. The digestion uses around 10% of the total energy. And the basal metabolism, that is, the energy stored by our body to ensure the functioning of its vital functions (brain, heart, breathing, etc.) means around 50-70% of all stored calories. An investigation published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association concludes that women who walk for nine hours a week experience a lower percentage of body fat and a higher basal metabolic rate
8. Reduce stress
Stress is an epidemic that has settled in Western societies . The accelerated pace of life that many individuals live, the demands at work or in studies, among other situations, can cause really stressful situations.
Walking allows us to improve our respiratory capacity and our oxygenation. to be calmer Also, like any aerobic exercise, walking reduces cortisol levels , a hormone that is released in response to stress, as confirmed by research published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology.
9. Walking strengthens muscles and makes you more resistant
Walking tones leg muscles, glutes and abdominals . This, added to the improvement of aerobic resistance, you can notice in the activities you do in your daily life, it will take longer to be tired or fatigued.
10. Increase vitamin D levels
Walking when a sunny day increases vitamin D levels . This vitamin is obtained mainly by the action of ultraviolet rays. Vitamin D is necessary for the normal development of the brain and could prevent multiple sclerosis (MS).
In addition, joint research from the University of Pittsburgh (United States) and the Technical University of Queensland in Australia concluded that vitamin D could have a regulatory role in the development of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).Do you want to know more about the psychological benefits of vitamin D? Visit our article: "6 vitamins to take care of brain health"