The Benefits of Daily One-Mile Walks

Person Walking on RoadThe benefits of walking are similar to the apple – walking a mile a day can keep the doctor away! From reducing anxiety to helping you lower blood pressure and reduce weight, walking can help you in many ways.

Regular walks are, in fact, one of the easiest things that you can do for your health, according to the author of The Doctor on Demand Diet, Melina B. Jampolis, MD. Walking requires nothing more than a pair of tennis shoes or sneakers. However, the activity provides tremendous physical and mental health benefits.

A 2015 study by the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Congress, followed 69 people between the ages of 30 and 60. The results were impressive. Those who participated in this study partook in daily walking or a similar exercise, as well as high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Researchers said that there were signs of anti-aging benefits and that could add an additional three to seven years to their lives.

Here are some of the benefits that you can enjoy by walking just a mile a day every day.

1. Strengthens the Heart

smiling heartWalking, especially brisk walking is a great cardio exercise that strengthens the heart muscles. Probably the most prominent benefit of walking is the potential reduction of blood pressure and stroke which may reduce the risk by 20% to 40%. According to the Stroke Association, just walking half an hour every day can control blood pressure, and reduce the risk of stroke by about 27 percent.

Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder found that post-menopausal women who walked just one to two miles a day lowered blood pressure by nearly 11 points. And at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, a study concluded that women who walked 30 minutes a day reduced their risk of stroke by 20 percent and by 40 percent when they increased their speed.

What’s more, this nominal exercise can help reduce the bad LDL cholesterol and increase the good HDL cholesterol from the body. Stable levels of cholesterol in the body further reduce the risk of heart complications.

2. Burn Calories

Walking just a mile of 15 minutes at a speed of two miles per hour can help you burn around 37 calories. Increasing your speed to three miles per hour will help you cut about 50 calories in the same time, while at four miles per hour, you will burn 75 calories. While walking in itself is not enough to drastically reduce the weight, when performed in combination to other exercise routines, it can provide a significant contribution.   

3. Lowers Risk of Deadly Diseases

Regular walking also reduces the risk of diabetes by as much as 60 percent. The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for the disease. Also, due to the activity of walking, you will be about 20 percent less likely to develop womb, breast or colon cancer. In addition, walking can help in reducing the risk of memory-related illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.

4. Boost Vitamin D

We all need Vitamin D for an improved immune system and bone health. Daily walking helps you get this required vitamin from exposure to the sun. This will reduce the risk of getting osteoporosis or other diseases such as the flu that can develop due to a weak immune system.

5. You’ll Get More “regular”

There are benefits to your digestive system. Walking at regular intervals can greatly improve gastric mobility, says Tara Alaichamy, DPT, a physical therapist at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. Dr. Alaichamy states that “One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk, because it utilizes core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system,”.

6. Makes You Happy

Happy People Walking in a Park

Walking is a true mood booster. Various studies have shown that the simple act of walking is as effective as antidepressant medications that are used to treat mild cases of depression. The activity releases the feel-good endorphins and reduces anxiety and stress. So, if you want to ensure a mental well being, consider making a one-mile walk your daily habit. 

In conclusion, walking will allow you to improve both your mental and physical health. It can add years to your life and improve your quality of life as well. Consider walking in the morning or during the afternoon an hour or two before the sunset or if you live in or near a city, make a day out of it and walk from one attraction to another. One family makes it a point almost every weekend to go to the city (New York in this case) and walk from the downtown area to midtown, as well as other locations in New York.

Going on a vacation? Don’t just sit at the beach. Take a long stroll along the boardwalk or walk a distance in the sand. Whatever it is you do, make sure you get that heart pumping! The more you walk, the more your body will thank you in the later part of your life.