There’s a famous Greek physician by the name of Hippocrates. He’s largely credited as being the father of modern medicine, and he has a very famous quote that says that walking is the best medicine.
Walking is essential for good health, and we’re going to go over some of the research back benefits of walking.
The research is very detailed: if you take a 30-minute walk per day and your heart health will be dramatically better because as you’re walking, your heart is pumping in a nice relaxed manner, circulating that oxygen-rich blood throughout all of your tissues.
We know that when your tissues are getting vital oxygen and vital nutrients, they stay younger and healthier.
It removes more metabolic wastes. We have our blood circulation, but we also have these vessels in our body called lymphatic vessels that run near our blood vessels.
The lymph vessels carry your immune system, remove a lot of cellular junk, get it out of those tissues, and recirculate it throughout the body, so walking gives you this heart benefit.
It also boosts your immune system through those lymphatics, and a 30-minute walk can boost your metabolism for up to 12 hours afterward.
So if your goal is to lose weight, you pair a healthy diet with some walking. The research is very clear: if you do a 30-minute walk per day with a healthy diet – you’ll start losing weight.
Some people literally lost a hundred pounds without touching a dumbbell and not doing anything other than daily walking.
It’s that important when paired with a healthy diet, walking can improve your metabolism as we get older, especially for women, when estrogen levels decline, our bones become more brittle.
Walking helps strengthen that, it’s the perfect amount of mechanical load as we’re shifting our weight and moving our feet. It helps strengthen our bones and obviously boosts our metabolism.
It also improves our memory and attention. Research from the University of Michigan showed that when people took a walk, specifically in nature, they showed a 20% increase in attention and memory directly following the walk.
Us, humans, when we are born, the first things that do is learning how to walk. We start crawling, which gets our muscles stronger, and then eventually, we start finding our balance working our way up and walking.
We are bipedal creatures, and we walk so that we can explore our environment and do things, find food and eat, and have this ancestral baked into our genes. In our history, the need to walk gives us these health benefits, but also we’re meant to walk outside where we came from.
When we get that sunshine for vitamin D, when we’re breathing that fresh air, it calms the nervous system down, improves our memory, and our attention. Basically, taking nature walks is phenomenally good for your health is real science.
We obviously have the immune-boosting benefits of lymphatic vessels, and this is one of the benefits too.
For those of us who want to lose weight and want to have healthy blood sugar, walking helps cut the blood sugar spike after eating.
We are meant to do light walking after we have big meals because when we eat food, oftentimes it has carbohydrates. They get broken down into glucose and fructose and the different kinds of sugars. That raises our blood sugar, and normally we get this big spike after we eat a meal.
Walking activates some of these glucose receptors in our legs’ muscles, and it sucks that blood sugar up.
There are some studies showing that walking can lead to a 40 to 50% decrease in the blood sugar response after a meal.
So, if you want to lose weight, have more energy, avoid diabetes, and include your improve your glycemic control – take a walk after your meals.
Ideally, in a perfect world, after every single meal but certainly after a big dinner meal. One of the best health habits we could recommend for you and your family is to take a 20-minute walk after you have a dinner meal.
It’s going to help shift your body into a rest and digest mode. It’s going to help lower that blood sugar and improve your overall health.
We understand, your schedule might be different that might not be possible for you even just accumulating more steps throughout the day is great.
Breaking up, you’re sitting at your desk with some walking whenever you can is great.
We’re not meant to eat food and then sit on our butts. We’re meant to eat and then move this is the foundational aspect of what it means to be a human.
We’re built to walk, so walk more, and this is the kind of exercise you can do into your 80s or 90s. You might not be able to do that intense circuit workout or the CrossFit or whatever you do, but you can walk.
As you get older, your ability to walk, it becomes even more valuable, it becomes the quality of your life, so start walking now, especially if you sit a lot.