Updated: Jun 7
It’s fair to say that most of us know that walking is good for us. It helps improve stamina, burn calories, and can reduce stress. But walking has many other benefits which are less well known.
The Greek physician Hippocrates, often referred to as the father of western medicine, once said “Walking is man’s best medicine”. And he was spot on. So, here are 5 surprising benefits of a daily walk.
1. Sturdier bones and joints
Unlike running which can result in damaged joints, low impact activities, such as walking, prevent the loss of bone density and can reduce the risk of fractures. As most joint cartilage has no direct blood supply, it gets nutrition from joint fluid. Movement compresses the cartilage which helps supply the area with oxygen and essential nutrients. The Arthritis Foundation suggests a walk of 30 minutes or more every day helps to reduce pain, stiffness, and inflammation. Several studies have also shown that walking 5 to 6 miles a week can actually prevent arthritis from striking in the first place.
2. Boost your brain function
A study conducted at the University of Kansas showed that low impact aerobic activities can prevent early-onset dementia and reduces the risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Other studies have shown similar results, and the benefits to your brain don’t stop there. Researchers at the University of California found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walk more. Walking just 2 and a half miles a day can halt your memory decline by 8% compared to those with a sedentary lifestyle.
3. Improved eyesight
Perhaps one of the most surprising benefits of walking is that it can help improve your eyesight! The Glaucoma Research Foundation recommends walking as one of the best ways to reduce the risk of developing glaucoma and can even help relieve symptoms. Often caused by an increase in pressure in the eye as a result of a build-up of fluid in the front part of the eye, glaucoma can lead to loss of vision if not treated early. Walking helps relieve this pressure which can prevent damage to the optic nerve. Additionally, exercise strengthens and stimulates the visual cortex which is the part of the brain which processes visual information sent from your eye. Kind of like boosting your brain’s processing power!
4. Control over your sweet tooth
Studies conducted at the University of Exeter revealed that a quick walk can have another unexpected benefit – it can curb those pesky chocolate cravings! In fact, just a 15-minute walk reduces cravings and intake of sugary snacks. So, next time you’ve got a sugar craving, go for a short walk, it might help! (But we won’t judge if you end up at the corner shop!)
5. Mental health benefits
Ok, perhaps this last one is less surprising, but it’s still worth mentioning. The Journal of Psychiatric Research published a study revealing that patients with severe depression experienced an improvement in their condition simply by walking 30-45 minutes for 5 days a week. With mental health problems affecting up to 1 in 4 of us every year, this one is definitely worth taking note of! A walk can also clear our minds. If you’re experiencing a mental block or about to start a piece of work you’ve been putting off, try going for a walk. It can improve your ability to do the task and help boost your creativity.
So, there you have it. 5 benefits a regular walk can have on your body. What are you waiting for? Get out there and walk! Your body will thank you for it. And while you’re at it, download the Treekly app! Now both you and the planet can benefit from your daily walk!