A brisk walk is great for the body and mind. Whether you are just getting started on your journey to fitness, or you routinely walk your 10,000 steps a day, there are amazing health benefits from a 30-minute walk.
National Walking Day is coming April 6! I hope you will join me in finding time for a 30-minute walk. Consider walking before work, during your lunch break or perhaps in the evening! Of course, walking for health is a wonderful activity throughout the year.
Lacing up your shoes for a 30-minute walk is a great way to be active and to reduce sedentary behavior, according to Alex Montoye, a clinical exercise physiology professor in Ball State University’s Human Performance Laboratory.
“National Walking Day is a good reminder to people of the benefits of being physically active,” Montoye said. “Just getting up and moving is a start, but taking that 30-minute walk every day will make us feel better in the long run.”
Unfortunately, according to Dr. Montoye’s research, many of us just don’t make time for activity…
“Our study found that most adults simply aren’t moving, and that’s because many of our jobs are done in a seated position while working at a computer or something similar. At the same time, much of our leisure time is often spent in front of a screen, such as for TV, social media and smartphones.” – Alex Montoye
Benefits of Walking For Health And Happiness
The Center For Disease Control recommends a minimum of at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week for healthy adults. Greater benefits come with more even activity; the CDC suggests 300 minutes of moderate activity per week (about 43 minutes a day).
Walking is the perfect example of moderate intensity activity. A brisk 30-minute walk puts you well on your way of reaching the CDC’s suggestions.
The benefits of walking for health are numerous, but here are just a few for inspiration…
- Regular activity including walking can help maintain a healthy weight
- Walking and other moderate activity can help prevent or manage various health conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes.
- Walking is weight-bearing exercise that can help strengthen your bones and muscles.
- A nice walk can help elevate your mood and relieve stress
- Walking can help control blood sugar, according to the American Diabetes Association 15 minutes of walking after a meal improved blood glucose control in “older people” with some degree of glucose intolerance.
- It gives you a chance to think and clear your head — maybe it is just me, but I find that some of my best ideas occur to me during a walk outside.
Sources: The Mayo Clinic online, American Diabetes Association, and American Heart Association
Tips To Get Moving More When You Work At A Desk:
Walking is a great start, but we see even more benefits with additional activity. To reduce time on the couch at home or in a chair at the office, the Dr. Montoye’s research team recommends average adults modify their routines by:
- Doing short bursts of exercises for a minute per seated hour while watching television or working on the computer.
- Standing up to speak on the phone.
- Taking a short walk around the office or home once an hour.
- If possible, use a stand-up desk.
- Walking to a colleague’s desk instead of telephoning or exchanging emails.
“Since we live in a society where work is now done at a desk, it is very important that we make small changes in our daily habits,” Montoye said. “Those little changes will make a big difference over time.”
About Dr. Alex Montoye
Dr Alex Montoye is a clinical exercise physiology professor in Ball State University’s Human Performance Laboratory. He conducts research related to physical activity, health, and exercise physiology class.
“One of the main goals of our lab is to get individuals more active to improve their health. Knowing how active or inactive people are allows us to know what behaviors we need to try and modify. With the popularity of activity trackers, we’ve started a few studies looking at how well the trackers work and if they can be used to help people get more active.”
The study referenced earlier involved the use of research-grade activity monitors to measure sedentary behavior in an adult population, finding that over 60% of adults’ waking hours are spent sedentary. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/
Disclaimer: While I quote experts and professionals in this post, it is not intended as medical or professional advice. As always, if you have not already, please see your doctor or health professional before starting or intensifying a fitness activity.
I used to think that when we’re told to exercise, it meant going to the gym or at the very least some calisthenics. It wasn’t until I accompanied my dad to his heart doctor a few years back that I realized that the most effective exercise was walking.
The doc mentioned that walking is often more effective because it suits everyone. And more importantly it’s much easier to consistently do for most of us, resulting in the most benefit.
Vidya Sudarsan says
Informative article. Walking is the simplest exercise that is very rewarding. I have been going with my daughter for a 40 min walk in the evenings, and since then she has been sleeping well and more alert the following day. I will check the studies done by Dr. Alex Montoye – sounds very interesting to me!
Good post I agree with all your points. I like to walk every day 40 minutes:)