22 Minutes a Day Boosts Well-Being
Even mainstream media have picked up on the many physical and mental benefits of walking, including weight loss, reduced stress, increased energy and better sleep, and that’s only the beginning. These additional compelling effects may well catalyze us to consistently step out for a daily walk, understanding that cumulative steps count, too. For more inspiration, check out this month’s race walking at the Summer Olympics.
Walking helps heart health and diabetes. According to the U.S. Surgeon General’s Call to Action on Walking program launched last fall, the risk of heart disease and diabetes can be significantly reduced via an average of 22 minutes a day of brisk walking. “Physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, certain cancers, osteoporosis, cognitive decline and even depression,” says Dr. JoAnn Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “Can you imagine if there was a pill that could simultaneously have all those benefits? Everyone would be clamoring for it.”
Walking reduces anxiety and clears thinking. The results of a national survey of nearly 3,000 women between the ages of 42 and 52 published in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise found that those that walked as part of a regular physical activity showed fewer signs of depression compared with inactive women. The more physical activity a woman logged, the less likely she was to exhibit such symptoms, suggesting that moderate-to-intense levels of exercise may help protect against mental illness. The survey further revealed that 85 percent believe walking helps reduce any present anxiety and feelings of depression, while two-thirds reported that walking stimulates their thinking. READ MORE