Last week, I was invited to give a presentation to the ladies’ group at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Durham, N.C. One of the things I spoke about was the benefits of walking as exercise. I’m a big advocate of walking — it’s what launched my healthy living transformation, helped me lose 60 pounds, and brought me to where I am today!
In this first in a series of posts I’ll be doing on walking for fitness and weight loss, here are 25 fun facts and benefits of walking that I shared with them in an interactive game.
1. Walking is good medicine: It can help you reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, breast and colon cancer, osteoporosis and osteoarthritis.
2. A 15-minute walk can curb chocolate and sugar cravings.
3. Walking can boost creativity by up to 60%.
4. People who track their steps take an average of 2,500 more steps each day.
5. Walking can help you improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
6. About 2,000 steps equal one mile.
7. There have been multiple studies suggesting walking can reduce back pain. In many cases, walking routines help relieve pain better than muscle strengthening programs.
8. Walking increases bone density.
9. Participating in regular exercise that includes walking lowers the risk of becoming disabled.
10. Walking improves memory.
11. Taking fewer than 5,000 steps each day is considered sedentary.
12. Walking improves strength and function of the heart, helping it become more efficient at moving blood (carrying oxygen and nutrients) to muscles.
13. Walking helps elevate your mood and enhance mental well-being.
14. Interval walkers lost six times more weight than walkers who maintained a steady pace, according to a Danish study.
15. Walking just 21 minutes a day can cut your risk of heart disease by 30%.
16. Focusing on an object ahead of you can increase your speed by as much as 23%.
17. Walking uphill activates three times more muscle fibers than walking on flat terrain. It also burns up to 60% more calories.
18. Walking can help you maintain body weight and lower your risk of obesity.
19. Walking is the most popular form of exercise in the U.S.
20. The average walking speed for the typical adult is approximately 3 mph.
21. Walking improves cerebral blood flow and lowers the risk of vascular disease that may help you avoid dementia.
22. Listening to music while walking has been observed to improve mood, motivation and performance.
23. Since the days of Socrates, walking has been linked to enhanced cognitive functioning and creativity.
24. The body burns approximately 100 calories of energy to walk 1 mile.
25. Thomas Jefferson, who lived to be 83 when life expectancy was 40, walked four miles a day.
Spring is a wonderful time to get outside and start a walking program. What are you waiting for? Grab your sneakers, and go!
Sources: American Council on Exercise Walking Toolkit, AceFitness.org; “4 Hidden Health Secrets of Walking,” SilverSneakers.com.
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