Benefits of Walking [For Anyone]

Dec 5 2020

<p>Benefits of Walking [For Anyone]</p>


How long does it take to walk 1 mile?

As both research and actual scientific measurements, an average adult will walk 1 mile in 15 to 18 minutes at moderate to a brisk pace. Or in other words, 3 to 4 miles per hour.

This is a general measure for a healthy adult between 20 and 50 years old, at dry weather, on relatively flat terrain, with no destruction from cars and other environments.

If you are either less healthy or subjected to any of the environmental distractions, your speed, of course, will be lower.

Average walking speed by age group and gender

There is little difference between male and female, with males walking on average 2% faster.

The table below shows the speed of walking based on age and gender:

| Age      | Sex    | Meters per second | Miles per hour |
|----------|--------|-------------------|----------------|
| 20 to 29 | Male   | 1.36              | 3.04           |
|          | Female | 1.34              | 3.0            |
| 30 to 39 | Male   | 1.43              | 3.2            |
|          | Female | 1.34              | 3.0            |
| 40 to 49 | Male   | 1.43              | 3.2            |
|          | Female | 1.39              | 3.11           |
| 50 to 59 | Male   | 1.43              | 3.2            |
|          | Female | 1.31              | 2.93           |
| 60 to 69 | Male   | 1.34              | 3.0            |
|          | Female | 1.24              | 2.77           |
| 70 to 79 | Male   | 1.26              | 2.82           |
|          | Female | 1.13              | 2.53           |
| 80 to 89 | Male   | 0.97              | 2.17           |
|          | Female | 0.94              | 2.10           |

Benefits of walking

There has been a great deal of research that showed that walking brings a huge advantage to humans. To both physical, and mental well being. The benefits are as follows:

Physical:

  • Burning calories. A direct way to reduce and to control your weight.
  • Lower glucose level and blood sugar levels. Research has focused on short walks, where it helped reduce glucose intolerance.
  • Help deal with infection and possibly Covid.
  • Help boost immune function.
  • Give additional energy to do other tasks due to increased efficiency of nutrients absorption and conversion.
  • Prolonging life. There is a research that showed evidence of having a relationship between physical activity and overall life expectancy.
  • Strengthen the heart. Even 20 minutes of daily walking has shown to reduce the risk of stroke by at least 20%.

Mental:

  • Improving self esteem by 45%.
  • Improving mood by 54%.
  • Additional time on focusing on self-education with educational podcasts and books. Research has shown that it leads to better learning of the material, longer retention, better engagement in post-walk discussions, better behaviour and mood, AND improved health literacy.
  • Improving goal setting in other areas by targeting non-specific goals which in consequence lead to better results.
  • Walking helps you get your thoughts in order. Whenever you are alone with yourself, and you are unable to really look at the phone, you are finally able to understand what is happening with yourself with no distractions.
  • Improve the creative part of the brain. While walking, research showed, that it is easier to come up with great ideas.
  • Save money on medications. With the amount of food, we consume and with costly medicine, walking and doing exercises can help you save money and nerves.

Covid and sitting time

In the world of pandemics and covid, it has been evident that humans are sitting more and more and do less and less exercises. There is a great research that shows that 2020 has caused a sharp increase in average sitting time. The data is staggering.

Overall, 42.6% of participants reported sitting for > 8 h/day (95% CI: 41.2%–44.0%) and 72.5% (71.2%–73.7%) reported being either sufficiently (150–300 MVPA minutes) or highly active (>300 min).

If you want to boost your health and still to be able to keep up with a busy schedule walking or running can be the best idea for spending your free time. In the world where only entertainment inside your house is minimal. If being glued to the screen is no longer an option, than being outside can boost your health and your mental capabilities immensely.

walking in the park grass and women leg

Tips on how to start walking

How to make walking a habit?

The walk starts with the first step. It would be best if you did not put huge goals onto yourself. Start somewhere small, then later you can always adjust based on how you feel.

Start by putting on clothes(plus a mask) and go outside. Going back to your apartment would feel bad at that point.

Next, you should walk around your building or up and down the street.

Next, you walk around the block and later you can finally go for huge walks that can be a couple of hours long.

Don’t try to start at the last step that would only make you quit before you get the full benefit of the habit.

Peg your walking habit to something else. If you go for a coffee every morning, go to a coffee house that is further away. If you are usually riding a tube to work, start the journey at the stop further away from you

Identify as a walker

If you would like to start walking you need to think of how do you become a walker.

You need to make sure you identify as someone who goes on walks, then keeping up with the habit will be much easier.

Next time someone asks you, whatever you do any exercises or what you love doing with your free time, you need to want to say that you love walking. At that point, you will be able to keep on walking and improving your health immensely.

How much walking per week is enough?

I think that it is tough to give a simple number for everyone, but if you are in the age range of 18-50, then:

  • 150 to 300 minutes per week is an ideal level if you are walking with moderate speed
  • 75 to 150 minutes per week if you are walking with a brisk pace.

Don’t think that doing extra physical exercise will be useless. In contrast, anything above that time limit will give even higher benefits to your health, so take the timing above as a general guideline. Do as much as you want.

Personal tips on walking more

Wake up earlier

Right now it is very easy to blame everything on covid and health, but not many people wake up very early in the morning, that gives people that live in the city an ability to walk as much as they want, even in usually crowded spaces.

Also, your excuse of not having enough time can not be reinforced if you have an extra hour in the morning.

Get a pet (dog)

Even though it can seem like a lousy idea, multiple research papers show a relationship between owning a dog and the number of steps you do daily. If you are struggling to make time, your favourite pet will make you find time for walks.

man and dog walking in forest autumn

Podcasts and Audiobooks

I love learning and listening to books. I do it all the time even when I am at home at my desk, so a change of pace for me is always going for an extended walk where I can do the same thing.

What I discovered is that I understand and remember information much better when I have consumed it while walking. That makes me spend twice as little time and getting twice the result.

Podcasts have been my go-to method of getting new relevant news and information in my field of expertise. Since I have started a habit of walking, I have been on top of my field and able to implement solutions that I would have never thought of otherwise.

Music

I also love discovering new music. Sometimes when I really need to get my head around something I go for a brisk walk with my favourite songs. This helps me to unwind and later really understand the problem.

Most of the time while on the walk, I solve the problem that I had, and in my experience would off taken me much more time to solve.

Walking groups

walking groups picture

Sometimes socialising can be hard and especially when all of your friends are on the lockdown and all of the socialising places, such as restaurants, are closed.

That is where walking groups can come into play! You can find someone who is staying healthy and being diligent with their health and walk together! That will allow you to catch up and have social interaction, that we humans require.

So what this means?

Now you have a social responsibility in your habit, and the whole activity can let you be more motivated to do it.

Also, walking groups normally allow you to meet new people and to bond better with existing relationships.

Also, walking groups is a great way to speed up your walking pace and improve your health.

How do I get better at walking?

If you would like to improve the speed at which you walk, there are multiple ways to do so:

  • As mentioned above, walking groups are amazing for giving you a speedup of pace, just make sure to not overdo it.
  • Walking poles (tracking poles) are an easy way to speed up the pace. They are especially useful for those with back or leg injury, that immensely help reduce the stress on joints and back as well as speed up the pace. There is a lot of research behind use cases and benefits of using them.
  • Treadmills. If you are unable to properly walk in the wild or in the park, get yourself a treadmill. Although they can be expensive, some are very cheap and immensely powerful alternatives provide the same result. You don’t need something overly expensive. Treadmills are great for controlling your pace as well as letting you support yourself with the rails that are at either side of the treadmill.
  • Have an open goal. Whenever you are walking, the research has shown that having an open goal to where you want to walk or for how long will extend the amount of walking that you will eventually do.
  • Keep track of your metrics. Understanding what your heart rate and your pace are, is vital for your well being and motivation. Seeing that you have improved over a period of time is the greatest motivator there is.
  • Strive towards a 13 minutes per mile goal. The 13 minutes per mile has been shown to be the meeting point between fast walkers and the joggers. As long as you are able to reach that pace, you are sure to be heading toward the right direction. Understand that it is a nice goal to have, but in no way it should be the main goal. The prolonged effect of habit will be much better than the satisfaction of reaching a goal.

mans walking in front of gazers

Have something to be proud off

Walk a half marathon

If you are a walker and would like your results to be rewarded, try walking a half marathon. Even though it will take time to both prepare and do it, motivation and self-esteem will be elevated to a completely different level.

There are strong evidence and support that walking your first half marathon is better than running it as it gives you better mental and physical foundation. Also the likelihood you coming back for other half marathons and marathons is higher if you walked your first half or full marathon.

Run a mile

I would recommend this to be the last step in your journey from starting to walk. Do not overstress over the whole idea of running. Walking is just as good, and it takes much less mental and physical effort if you are doing everything smartly.

Only run when you want because habits are what shape us. If you are only able to run by sheer self forcing, then don’t do it. You are only hurting yourself in the long run by associating running with something painful and unsatisfactory.

Closing thoughts

If you want to walk and you want to experience all of the amazing benefits that I have described above, it is straightforward.

Put any shoes that you have on. Put any clothes that you have on. Just simply, walk outside and move one leg after another.

The motion is simple. The results are profound.

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Klim Y