Doha News put together five reasons why one should make walking a daily habit.
The weekend is the perfect chance to unwind and rest from what may have been a long week. With Friday coinciding with “Take a Walk Outdoors Day”, this could be the right time to get up and explore the outdoors while clearing your mind.
While the international day’s cannot be traced, it still serves as a reminder for millions around the world to take a breather by enjoying the breezy weather, especially here in Doha as the winter season slowly comes to an end.
Needless to say, walking has countless benefits, both physical and mental:
Energy and mood booster
Starting off with the mental benefits, walking can be a great energy booster as it improves blood circulation throughout the body.
According to WebMD, walking can help with symptoms of several “chronic mental health conditions” such as anxiety and depression.
“It has a positive influence on your hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis, which is your central nervous response system. This is good because the HPA axis is responsible for your stress response,” WebMD said.
Poor sleep can negatively impact physical and mental functions, especially in restless minds that cannot catch a break after a long week of work.
Walking might be just one solution in fixing your sleep, not just in terms of duration but also the quality of rest. Studies found a clear link between walking daily to getting better sleep.
Some reasons included its ability to reduce stress, which in turn allows for easier relaxing of the body.
Generally, physical activity is key in improving physical health, especially when it is coupled with a healthy diet.
Those wanting to manage their weight, or reduce it, are advised to go for walks
According to Harvard University, walking “counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes.” After analysing 32 obesity-promoting genes in more than 12,000 people, Harvard researchers found that those who walked for an hour a day slashed the effect of the genes by a half.
Reduces risk of breast cancer
Women, you may want to pay closer attention.
Walking, among other physical activities, is key in helping reduce the risk of breast cancer. A study by the American Cancer Society found that women who walked at least seven hours a week displayed 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked less hours.
The cold winter season places many at risk of getting the seasonal flu, calling for more precautionary health measures to stay safe.
Getting sick can heavily impact productivity, which you can mitigate during the weekend by taking a walk—even outdoors, if you dress up properly for the weather.
Studies found that walking during the flu season was linked to boosting the immune function.
A study, cited by Harvard University, of more than 1,000 men and women found that those who walked a minimum of 20 minutes per at least five days a week had 43% less sick days than those who walked only once a week or even less.
“And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder,” Harvard said.