Scientific Evidence Supports Walking As One of the Most Accessible and Rewarding Exercises For Body and Mind

Rob Hourmont

Walking is one of the most basic and easy movements everyone can do at any age.
A woman is walking on a beach, splashing water with her feet, and having fun.Photo byKampus Productions

However, many folks take the elevator or escalator up and down a few floors, a car, taxi, or bus to work, or a restaurant or grocery shop three blocks away.

Why is that? Convenience, society, culture, laziness, habit? Probably, all of the above.

My Daily Walking Goal

I aim to hit 10000 to 15000 steps a day with 1 longer walk and multiple short walks.

Walking is my main hobby because it supports my heart health, blood pressure, overall strength, mindset, and fun.

Scientific reports have shown significant benefits if you increase your daily steps to fifteen thousand.

Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health.

I’ve talked about walking being one of the best things you can do for your body and mind since I embarked on my health journey in 2016.

In December 2015, my right knee was replaced with a titanium prosthesis after a ski racing accident in 1990. To my surprise, my doctor told me to bike and walk a lot to recover.

Both activities were hellishly painful. I spent the first week cursing myself and the doctor who did this to me!

However, it was a blessing in disguise - the process made me realize how beneficial walking was. 

Despite walking on a leg that was battered, chiseled, and drilled only days ago, I noticed rapid improvements walk by walk, in both body and mind.

My new diet and lifestyle change

While recovering, I stumbled upon the keto-carnivore diet and lifestyle. I was so intrigued and curious I immediately signed up for and completed an in-depth nutrition, fitness, and "healthy living" course. 

Once I studied and learned about food, physical and mental health, I started to understand the state of my body and mind. Surprisingly, this enabled me to regain control of my health and start a new life.

The importance of walking

By walking for your health and fitness, I mean fast-paced or power-walking.

Slow strolling is different and serves another purpose. I call it mindful and meditative walking.

Here is a quick look at my personal experience with the clients I have coached and the scientific evidence:

Physical benefits of walking:

• Burns fat, as walking is a cardio exercise that keeps you within the aerobic fat-burning zone of 180 maximum heart rate, minus your age 

• Running, biking, rowing, and other similar cardio-categorized exercises often kick you out of that aerobic zone where you no longer burn fat

• Helps you manage weight

• Lowers your blood pressure

• Reduces the risk of strokes and heart attacks

• Easy on your joints, especially ankles, knees, and back

• Walking builds bone strength - the low impact supports bone density

• Boosts heart health

• Stimulates all of your organs to work more efficiently

• Fantastic for your legs, especially if you walk in the sand or are trekking hills, in forests, or hiking. Walking builds powerful and lean muscles

• Walking helps correct poor posture

Barefoot walking connects you with nature and is grounding. Barefoot walking on sand, grass, or dirt stimulates the muscles and nerves in the feet and creates a deeper connection to the earth

When we make a connection with the Earth, when we ground through barefoot walking, there has been found to be a reduction in white blood cells and an increase in red blood cells, which hints to better immunity.  Barefoot walking has been shown to help increase antioxidants, reduce inflammation and improve sleep.

Please read the scientific evidence by Harvard Health Publishing: Walking for Health.

Psychological Benefits of Walking:

• Reduce stress and anxiety

• Frees your mind and stimulates the creative side of your brain

• Walking helps reduce overthinking

Helps to reduce depression and calm your mind

Mindful meditative walking - this is how it’s done:

Walk slowly, look around your environment, and take it all in. Then stop, breathe, smile, and be thankful to be there, healthy and alive.

Want to boost your mental health? Take a walk. American Psychological Association.

Scientific Evidence:

• The best thing to do to improve our overall health and longevity.

Walking can lower the risk of cancer.

• Reduces the risk of premature death

"A review of studies published in 2014 in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity found that walking for roughly 3 hours a week was associated with an 11 percent reduced risk of premature death compared with those who did little or no activity."

• Improves memory and cognitive function.

"Regular walks strengthen connections in and between brain networks, according to new research, adding to growing evidence linking exercise with slowing the onset of Alzheimer's disease."

Final Thoughts

Keep walking for your health!

The path to weight loss, strength, a calm mind, and overall good health is way more accessible than most people think – and not only that. 

Daily walking, swimming, or other low-key and easy-to-do cardio activities you enjoy will likely help you to live an enjoyable active lifestyle at any age! 

Rob Hourmont

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