Opinion: Walking Has Many Health Benefits

Emily Meneses

Walking is a very underrated exercise that we overlook all the time. Walking has many benefits for improving yourself; it helps you by reducing a lot of health issues and increases your mental state by giving you time to walk and look out at nature. This is also good for your mental state when you can take time off of work, school, or anything in general and enjoy the outdoors for a while, getting fresh air. A writer that covers mental health and wellness, Stephanie Thurrott, said, “You’ll be more motivated, have better mental health, make better food decisions, and make positive choices that maintain your walking habit.”

Going to the gym on a treadmill is as good as walking; the only difference is that when you go on the treadmill, you instantly start speeding up the time, while when you walk, you slowly go from a walk into a run. Rob McGillivray, the founder of Retrofit fitness gym, has said that between hill walking and running on a level gradient, hill walking is the best. By keeping your heart rate at a steady pace, you won’t burn as many calories as if you speed up or slow down, like when hill climbing. On hills, there are always rocks you must climb over or walk peacefully while looking at the views.

It’s always in a constant state of change. When you run on a level gradient, it attacks your muscle tissue, whereas hillwalking is the complete opposite. Anyone can walk. You don’t have to be young to walk; it goes at your own pace. You can walk slowly at first, then quickly, or walk the entire distance. You can walk anywhere at any time. If you’re close to your destination, you can walk there and get some exercise instead of driving.

Harvard Health Publishing said, “Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season.” A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least five days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. “And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.”

They’ve also said, “Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes contribute to body weight.” They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half. Now we can say that walking does help you in a lot of ways that you may not have known, which is why it’s essential to do at least walk weekly.