Have you tried just getting outdoors and walking? It’s the simplest physical activity we can do – yet it is incredibly beneficial for our health.
We’re always told about the positives of running and lifting weights, but slowing things down and walking can provide a host of health benefits, too. It’s a natural, low-impact way of moving the body, so there’s less chance of injury.
ALSO SEE: 8 reasons to start walking
Here are 6 benefits of walking you may not have been aware of…
It curbs cravings
As well as burning kilojoules, a study from the University of Exeter found that a short walk helped people reduce their intake of high-kilojoule snack foods by half.
It helps regulate hormones
Walking for at least an hour a day cuts the risk by 14%, since it’s thought to regulate the levels of hormones that can encourage breast tumours to grow.
It strengthens bones
Every time your feet hit the floor when you walk, your bones get a strengthening jolt. Women who walk at least 1,6km a day have a higher bone density after menopause than those who walk less.
It burns as much fat as running
Lower-intensity exercises like walking actually force the body to burn more fat. Your body is more likely to burn existing fat stores with this lower-intensity exercise than it is when you’re running. For more fat burn, try swinging your arms to increase your kilojoule expenditure.
It helps fight major diseases
Walking is just as effective as running for fighting diabetes and heart disease, according to US researchers. Just one brisk 10-minute walk a day can reduce the risk of early death by 15%, while the UK’s Stroke Association found that just 30 minutes of brisk walking can help to prevent and control high blood pressure.
It’s a natural mood-booster
When researchers asked people with depression to walk for 30 minutes, three times a week, for 16 weeks, they found that it had similar mood-boosting effects to antidepressants.
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Here are some of our favourite walking essentials you might need, whatever the weather…
New Balance Women’s Achiever Tights, R899, XS to XL. These are lightweight, breathable and super comfortable, especially for long walks
K-Way Kili’19 Shell Women’s Jacket, R2,599, XS to 2XL. Ideal for walking in come rain or shine! This durable jacket is seamless, water-resistant and breathable with added chest pockets and side pockets. It’s also made with a two-way slider zip.
Maxed Fleece hooded Pullover, R199, SS to XXL, is great for cooler days as it’s made with a fleece inner and a drawstring hoodie.
Puma NRGY Star Running Sneakers, R800, size 3-7. These shoes are suitable for running or walking, as they’re ultra-lightweight and breathable, thanks to the mesh cover. They’re also made with a unique lacing system, so you won’t have to stop to tie your laces. Most importantly, they offer the right amount of cushioning support for your feet and ankles.