Experts say daily walking has numerous physical and mental benefits
Walking daily for at least 30 minutes can help improve your physical and mental health, especially if you walk outdoors, experts say.
Walking is an ideal option in terms of physical activity since It requires no specialized skill or equipment and everyone knows how to walk.
“It’s low impact and safe,” said Dr. Cedric Bryant, president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise.
“Many of the systems of the body can benefit from walking,” Bryant said.
Walking can help improve cardiovascular health, increase aerobic capacity, improve blood pressure, control blood sugar and reduce the risk of diabetes.
It also increases metabolism, maintains a healthy weight, reduces the risk or osteoarthritis and maintains mobility.
The US Department of Health and Human Services recommends moderate-intensity aerobic exercise for 150 to 300 minutes a week, so 30 minutes of brisk walking for five days a week gets you into the low end of that range.
However, overweight people need to walk for longer, experts say. They recommend walking 45 to 60 minutes most days. But it doesn’t have to be all at once. A 30-minute morning walk and a 20-minute walk after dinner would count.
Researchers say emerging evidence suggests that combined physical activity and inactivity may be more important for chronic disease risk than physical activity alone.
“Actively sedentary is a new category of people who are fit for one hour but sitting around the rest of the day," said Katy Bowman, a biomechanist based in Ventura, California. “You can’t offset 10 hours of stillness with one hour of exercise.”
Nonetheless, experts acknowledge that walking does not do everything and it is less beneficial for bones than running, and for strength, it is better to lift weights.