The underestimated health benefits of walking

The health benefits of walking

Walking as a form of exercise is often snubbed by the fitness industry who try to persuade us to go big or go home!

But intense exercise and long hard cardio is not always the best thing for women over 40. That’s because we are more likely to be have hormone imbalances resulting from peri-menopause.

And when you’re already stressed, pushing your body even harder can make things worse.

So walking is ideal. In fact, one study showed that you can get the benefits of a 25 minute run from walking for an hour and 45 minutes. OK, so that’s going to take more time, but it’s amazing that you don’t need to run to get the same health benefits!

Health benefits of regular walking

    1. Heart health – walking reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol and high blood pressure
    2. Weight loss – regular walks can help you lose weight
    3. Brain function – walking increases circulation, therefore supplying your brain with more oxygen and nutrients. This can reduce brain fog, improve focus, concentration, memory and reduce the risk of Dementia
    4. Diabetes risk – walking reduces the risk of Type 2 Diabetes by controlling blood sugar and insulin
    5. Bone health – low impact weight bearing can help prevent bone loss and osteoporosis
    6. Strengthens muscles – improves muscle tone and strength in your legs and back
    7. Supports immune system – walking helps to boost your immune cells
    8. Increases your Vitamin D – if you’re outside you’re more likely to make some Vitamin D
    9. Reduces stress hormones – walking in nature helps to reduce cortisol
    10. Improves mental health – studies have shown that walking reduces low mood and depression
    11. Increases creativity and productivity – I always get my best ideas when I’m out on a walk!
    12. Increases life expectancy – a recent study of 400,000 people found that just 15 minutes a day of moderate exercise (which includes brisk walking) can add up to three years to life expectancy. Even one 10 minute walk a week can prevent an early death by 15%!

Other benefits

  • It’s cheap! You don’t need a gym membership or expensive equipment, just get up and go
  • It’s easy on your joints – in fact it helps your joints and your bones
  • It’s convenient – you can walk anywhere and everywhere
  • It’s environmentally friendly – less time in your car means less pollution!

How much do we need to walk?

Do we really need to walk the 10000 steps that we are told is ideal? Michael Mosely doesn’t think so. He did an experiment and found that 3 x brisk 10 minute walks a day were more beneficial than trying to reach 10,000 steps, which most people struggle to fit in every day.

Public Health England agree, and have launched the Active 10 App to help you track your 10 minute walks.

Tips to walk more

  • Invest in some good hiking boots for winter, comfortable trainers for summer and a waterproof jacket. Then there’s no excuse not to get out, even if it’s raining!
  • Park your car further away so you can walk further. Every step counts!
  • Get off the train or tube a few stops earlier, and walk the rest of the way (you can wear trainers and take your work shoes with you)
  • Find a friend to walk with or join a local walking group
  • Take a stroll at lunchtime, or have walking meetings with colleagues
  • Meet your friend for a walk instead of sitting in a café
  • Get an App that records your steps if it helps to motivate you
  • Build walking in to your daily routine
  • Get a dog – a dog is a great motivator to get out every day, but only if you can look after it and it's not going to add to your stress!

If you’re new to walking, start with a few minutes a day, then build up slowly. Check with your Doctor if you're not sure.

If you want to talk to us about anything to do with your hormones or health after 40, then do get in touch and book in a free Discovery Call.