Benefits of going for a daily walk

Think physical activity only counts as being good for you if it’s more huff and puff than relaxing and recreational? Or that it has to involve lots of fancy equipment? Not true! In fact, something as simple as going for a regular walk can deliver a wide variety of health benefits. And there’s a few reasons why!

It’s good for your bones

Because it’s a weight-bearing exercise, walking can help maintain bone health , as well as improving balance and muscle strength. As a result, research has shown that doing at least four hours of walking a week reduces the risk of experiencing a hip fracture by 40 per cent.

It improves heart health

The results of a study published in late 2020 found that people who met the recommended physical activity guidelines of doing at least 150 minutes of moderate activity a week with nothing but walking, had a significantly lower risk of developing high blood pressure, a primary risk factor for heart disease.

It boosts your mood

And it doesn’t even have to be a long walk  – a US study shows that the mood-boosting effect of walking kicks in after as little as 12 minutes. In fact, walking is so beneficial for mental health and wellbeing, it can even lower the risk of depression when you do it for an hour a day.

It delivers a good night’s sleep

Recent studies have linked walking with better sleeping, and it seems like the more steps you take, the more the quality of your shuteye improves. While the exact reason why walking helps sleep remains unknown, experts say it seems to increase the amount of slow wave sleep you get, which is the variety that gives your body the chance to recover and ‘reset’.

It protects your cognitive health

Going for a walk each day is seriously good for brain health. One US study found that people who take more than 4,000 steps a day not only have better attention, more efficient working memories and faster information-processing times, their brains have physical markers of better brain health, too.

It lowers body fat

There’s a link between walking more and being more likely to have a lower percentage of body fat, something that’s associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. And the good news is, you can reap the rewards by going for one long walk or several shorter ones each day – every step counts.

Take care of yourself with Health Insurance

Healthy habits, like regular walks, are great for our physical and mental health. But things may still go wrong, either due to ageing or just plain bad luck (touch wood!). That’s where Health Insurance can come in handy, for everything from dental surgery to joint replacements and pain management, depending on your level of cover.

Learn about Apia Health Insurance

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This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.