If you’re feeling stressed, depressed, or unable to come up with creative ideas at work, you

may want to take a walk. Your doctor probably won’t prescribe walks for you, but “Walking

is the closest thing we have to a wonder drug,” according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, former

director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

What’s great about this “wonder drug” is no special equipment, training, or prescription

is required—and it can be done inside or outside. (Also, no dogs are needed, but they may

provide extra incentive.) Walking just 30 minutes each day can improve your cardiovascular

fitness, reduce excess body fat, strengthen bones, and boost your muscle power and

endurance.1 Make sure you’ve chosen comfortable shoes that are designed specifically

for walking.

The Mayo Clinic: The faster, farther, and more frequently you walk,

the greater the benefits

Walking isn’t complicated, and walking regularly at a brisk pace helps you do the following:2

ƒ Improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep

ƒ Maintain a healthy weight and lose body fat

ƒ Reduce stress and tension

ƒ Strengthen your immune system

ƒ Prevent or manage certain conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure,

cancer, and type 2 diabetes

ƒ Improve cardiovascular fitness

ƒ Improve your balance and coordination

ƒ Strengthen your muscles and bones

ƒ Increase energy levels

ƒ Improve muscle endurance

As the Mayo Clinic reports, the farther, faster, and more frequently you walk, the greater the

benefits. There are also benefits to alternating periods of brisk walking with leisurely walking.

The benefits of walking

Harvard study shows additional benefits of brisk walking

Harvard researchers who studied 32 obesity-promoting genes in more than 12,000 people

discovered that study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day were

less likely to experience the effects of those genes. In fact, the effects of those obesitypromoting

genes were cut in half.3

The benefits of walking shared in the Harvard Study include:3

ƒ It can reduce cravings for sugary snacks.

ƒ It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.

ƒ It eases joint pain.

ƒ It boosts your immunity, making you less likely to get sick.

Be careful not to walk “too much”

If you’re just starting a walking routine, don’t push yourself too hard. You may want to

start with 15 minutes of walking at an easy pace, adding a few minutes each week until

you’re able to walk 30 minutes at a brisk pace, and can speak in full sentences without

breathing heavily.5

Also, make sure you’re using the right posture, foot motion, stride, and arm movement,

which will reduce your chances of developing pain. The health resource Verywell Fit

recommends the following:5

ƒ Walking posture: Level hips, no slouching

ƒ Arm motion: Bent elbows and a natural arm swing

ƒ Foot motion: Roll from heel to toe

ƒ Walking stride: Push off with your rear foot, don’t overstride

Benefits for older adults

The May 2023 AARP Bulletin promotes the benefits of walking to help facilitate new brain

cells, boost creativity, enhance your mood, and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

It appears a regular walking routine is win/win for everyone.

1 BetterHealth Channel: Walking for good health

2 Mayo Clinic: Walking: Trim your waistline, improve your health

3 Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School: 5 surprising benefits of walking, August 25, 2022

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