Learn about the very real benefits that walking can bring
Now that spring is here, you’re likely to find a wide variety of outdoor run/walk events—including the Y Run on April 16. Before diving into a plan to run a 5k, consider the pros of participating in an event as a walker (there are even online plans to help ready you for walking a 5k distance).
According to Harvard Medical School, “Walking doesn’t get the respect it deserves, either for its health benefits, its value for transportation, or its role in recreation.” Harvard explains the primary difference between walking and running—and it’s not simply pace. At any speed, walkers have one foot on the ground at all times—runners spend time in each stride being airborne, which makes it a more high-impact activity (meaning it’s more stressful on joints and can bring a higher risk for injury).
If you’re not convinced that walking can be a good workout, you can always kick things up a notch by walking with weights, taking your walk to the stairs or walking in the pool.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent or manage conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Strengthen your bones
- Lift your mood
- Improve balance and coordination
The Arthritis Foundation lists additional benefits of walking—especially for older adults—including:
- A longer life than those who do not walk regularly
- Stronger muscles—especially in the legs and abdomen
- Better sleep
- Improved breathing, which can improve energy levels
- A slowed rate for memory decline and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease
Walking for recreation
If you’re not sold on the health benefits alone, remember that heading out for a walk is a great way to be social and enjoy a more active daily life. Meet Minneapolis suggests that traveling on foot is a great way to experience the history, culture and energy of Minneapolis—whether ambling through a park, or exploring the skyway.