Spring is coming! The flowers are blooming, the temperature is rising and there are more people on the streets. During spring we are also more active! We walk and cycle more. And for good reasons, because exercise (outside) is good and healthy for us in so many ways! There are a lot of scientific studies done to prove the positive effects of exercise, especially walking. I will gladly lead you through all these studies!
Walking increases creativity! Four experiments showed that walking increases the amount of creative thoughts during the walk and shortly after! It enlarges divergent thinking, meaning out-of-the-box thinking and the quality of analogies. So go for a walk and bring on all the great ideas!
Positive effects on the body
Walking has positive effects on the body and immune system. Walking at least 30 minutes per day decreases the risk of heart- and vascular diseases by 19%. This also reduces the chance of a stroke with 30%. Walking gives your immune system a boost and lowers the risk of developing the flu, a cold and other upper respiratory tract infections. In a group of 1000 adults who walked at least 20 minutes per day, the sick leave was 43% less. These people were also sick for a shorter duration than the people who exercised less than once per week.
Walking protects the joints and can therefore lessen arthritis induced pain. Especially the hips and knees are protected. The joints are lubricated and the muscles that support the joints grow stronger. Besides this, walking also promotes a healthy weight. Walking an hour a day cuts the effects of the so called “obese-genes” in half. This means that when you have the genetic predisposition to become obese, you can reduce this influence by walking. Also, a 15 minute walk after each meal can help lower the blood sugar levels. It lowers the cravings for something sweet and after walking the intake of sweet snacks is lowered.
Positive effects on the brain and your mood
Walking gives more energy! A study showed that walking gives more energy than a low dose of caffeine (50 mg) in a group of young sleep deprived women. Walking can also boost your mood! This counts for every form of exercise. How it works exactly remains unclear, but it probably has something to do with various neurotransmitters in our brain. So do you feel sad? Go out for a walk!
Walking increases your general wellbeing. It can make tough situations from daily life or physical symptoms more bearable. This means that walking can also generalise to other areas that are not mentioned in this article.
Go for a walk! To summarise all of these studies, it appears that a minimum of 30 minutes walking per day is the minimum amount of exercise. So put on your sunglasses, ask a friend, partner, grandparent, neighbour or colleague to go with you! Or go by yourself! You’ll feel better either way! 🙂
Anywhere is within walking distance if you have the time
Plan a walk in your daily planner! Before you go for your walk, write down how you feel and what you think. Evaluate this again after walking. What do you notice?