Walk it off

Posted 01/31/2014 | By HealthCorps

Studies continue to showcase the numerous benefits of a walking program, with the caveat that you really commit to “quantity” and “intensity.”  A stroll is better than nothing, but to really get benefits from your walk it should last at least 20 minutes and have some vigorous intervals, that raise your heart rate for a sustained period of time.  Building on that 20 minutes of commitment daily, and increasing your duration of walking to 30 or 45 minutes, will provide even greater health benefits.  What are some of the benefits of brisk walking?

Post-menopausal women who walk for an hour daily can reduce their risk of breast cancer by 14%.  Make the walk a strenuous walk, and the risk for breast cancer is reduced by 25%.  (Journal, Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, 2013)

Though running may ultimately burn more calories, and suppress appetite and hunger, one recent study showed walking or running of the same time duration, can help to diminish the risk of age-related cataracts.  Walking is clearly far less strenuous, which may make it more appealing.

Another study that pitted walking against running showed that walkers reduced their risk of heart disease by more than 9%, when they walked for an hour a day.  Running an hour a day produced the same benefit, obviously with a lot more effort.

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