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Benefits of Walking

Inspire Health Event Calendar July 27, 2023

Walking offers numerous physical and mental health benefits, making it a great way to promote overall well-being!

Read on to learn more about the advantages of walking and the weekly target needed to achieve these benefits.

The Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology recommends:

  • 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise each week – and yes, walking counts!
  • For aerobic exercise, 30 minutes of moderate exercise three times a week is a great place to start.
  • These 30 minutes can be broken up into shorter bouts throughout the day!

Top 4 benefits of walking:

  1. Mental health 

Research has shown that patients who walked during cancer treatment experienced less emotional distress than those who were less active. Increased activity overall was also associated with less fatigue and more vigor.

Fun fact: Exercising in a green environment has been shown to further improve self-esteem and mood!

Nature walks have been shown to positively impact one’s strength, energy, confidence, self-esteem, fatigue, and stress.

Greater improvements were observed with increased intensities, longer durations, as well as the presence of water (like a lake or river, etc.).

  1. Insulin and blood sugar connection 

Walking at a mild-moderate intensity for 60-minutes, 3 times per week, for 3 weeks has been shown to reduce blood pressure and glucose levels. Briskly walking for 30-minutes a day for 3 months has also been shown to reduce fasting blood glucose levels.

  1. Sleep 

Daily active minutes have been shown to be positively related to sleep quality and duration – the greater the active minutes, the greater the sleep quality and duration. One study found walking to be even more effective than yoga at reducing sleep disturbance in breast cancer patients!

Walking 10,000 steps per day for 4 weeks, in people with and without prior exercise habits, was shown to significantly improve perceived sleep quality, sleep duration, and sleep latency (time it takes to fall asleep).

  1. Bone health 

Walking has been shown to effectively increase bone mineral density while slowing the rate of bone loss from the legs and reducing fracture risk. Research examining lifelong walking habits has found that those who walk approximately 1.6 kilometers (1 mile) a day had higher whole-body bone density compared to those who walk shorter distances.

Easily accessible to most people, walking can be a great way to socialize, experience new environments, and spend some time in the beautiful outdoors!

Ready to get walking?

Join us for one of our in-person walking groups in Vancouver or Victoria!

We are looking forward to walking with you!

 

Sources:

  1. Barton, J., & Pretty, J. (2010). What is the best dose of nature and green exercise for improving mental health? A multi-study analysis. Environmental science & technology44(10), 3947-3955.
  2. Bisson, A. N. S., Robinson, S. A., & Lachman, M. E. (2019). Walk to a better night of sleep: testing the relationship between physical activity and sleep. Sleep health5(5), 487-494.
  3. Buffey, A. J., Herring, M. P., Langley, C. K., Donnelly, A. E., & Carson, B. P. (2022). The acute effects of interrupting prolonged sitting time in adults with standing and light-intensity walking on biomarkers of cardiometabolic health in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine52(8), 1765-1787.
  4. Hanson, S., & Jones, A. (2015). Is there evidence that walking groups have health benefits? A systematic review and meta-analysis. British journal of sports medicine49(11), 710-715.
  5. Hori, H., Ikenouchi-Sugita, A., Yoshimura, R., & Nakamura, J. (2016). Does subjective sleep quality improve by a walking intervention? A real-world study in a Japanese workplace. BMJ open6(10), e011055.
  6. Krall, E. A., & Dawson-Hughes, B. (1994). Walking is related to bone density and rates of bone loss. The American journal of medicine96(1), 20-26.
  7. Kohrt, W. M., Barry, D. W., & Schwartz, R. S. (2009). Muscle forces or gravity: what predominates mechanical loading on bone?. Medicine and science in sports and exercise41(11), 2050.
  8. Peacock, J., Hine, R., & Pretty, J. (2007). The mental health benefits of green exercise activities and green care. Report for MIND.
  9. Reynolds, A. N., & Venn, B. J. (2018). The timing of activity after eating affects the glycaemic response of healthy adults: A randomised controlled trial. nutrients10(11), 1743.
  10. Rizka, M., Ambardini, R. L., & Yudhistira, D. (2022). The effect of walking exercise on blood pressure and blood glucose in the elderly. International Journal of Kinesiology and Sports Science10(1), 30-35.
  11. Sirisha, R., & Paramjyothi, P. (2015). Lifestyle Modification-Impact of Walking on Fasting Blood Sugar. International Journal of Clinical and Biomedical Research, 19-21.
  12. Tang, M. F., Chiu, H. Y., Xu, X., Kwok, J. Y., Cheung, D. S. T., Chen, C. Y., & Lin, C. C. (2019). Walking is more effective than yoga at reducing sleep disturbance in cancer patients: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Sleep medicine reviews47, 1-8.
  13. Wenzel, J. A., Griffith, K. A., Shang, J., Thompson, C. B., Hedlin, H., Stewart, K. J., … & Mock, V. (2013). Impact of a home‐based walking intervention on outcomes of sleep quality, emotional distress, and fatigue in patients undergoing treatment for solid tumors. The oncologist18(4), 476-484.
  14. Nuri, R., Kordi, M. R., Moghaddasi, M., Rahnama, N., Damirchi, A., Rahmani-Nia, F., & Emami, H. (2012). Effect of combination exercise training on metabolic syndrome parameters in postmenopausal women with breast cancer. Journal of cancer research and therapeutics8(2), 238-242.
  15. Bruno, E., Roveda, E., Vitale, J., Montaruli, A., Berrino, F., Villarini, A., … & Pasanisi, P. (2018). Effect of aerobic exercise intervention on markers of insulin resistance in breast cancer women. European journal of cancer care27(2), e12617.
  16. Kang, D. W., Lee, J., Suh, S. H., Ligibel, J., Courneya, K. S., & Jeon, J. Y. (2017). Effects of exercise on insulin, IGF axis, adipocytokines, and inflammatory markers in breast cancer survivors: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention26(3), 355-365.
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