Now that the good weather begins, you have no excuse: take out your sneakers, put on something comfortable, disconnect from WhatsApp and spend a few minutes walking every day. It is a simple activity, free (you do not need to pay a gym fee), you can do it alone or in company, on asphalt or grass and it also helps you lose weight.
Although not everything is showing off your body. We should not be surprised if our doctor’s next prescription, instead of putting “rest and ibuprofen every 8 hours”, indicates “walking 20 minutes every day”. Because the benefits of walking are endless.
Increase our defenses
Walking 5 days a week reduces your chances of catching a cold by 43%, according to a Getty study. There are seasons in which we catch colds constantly, but this could change if we walk a few minutes a day.
As revealed by a Harvard study, in which 1000 men and women participated, those who walked 20 minutes a day for 5 days a week suffered 43% fewer colds and flu, and if they got sick the duration was much shorter.
Dr. Ángel Bigas Bonamusa, an expert in sports medicine and a member of the Clinica del Corredor i Ciclista, explains that this is because “physical exercise stimulates the formation of red blood cells (red blood cells) and white blood cells (leukocytes), the main defenders of infections in our organism”.
Helps control sugar ‘cravings’
About 15 minutes of walking helps control sweet food cravings. Stressful situations can cause us to fall into the temptation of snacking on sweets. But, there is a way to control those cravings.
This is confirmed by a study carried out by the University of Exeter in which it was concluded that walking 15 minutes a day can curb the intake of sugary foods, such as chocolate, and relieve anxiety.
“Going for a walk produces an anxiolytic effect, just as chewing gum mitigates the urge to smoke. Both are healthier alternatives”concludes Dr. Ignacio Sitges Serra, a sports medicine specialist at Imesport.
Can we fight our genetics?
Fighting against the physical constitution and genes seems an impossible task. However, according to experts from Harvard University, in a study that analyzed 32 genes related to obesity from 12,000 people, it was discovered that if you walked for an hour a day, the effects of these genes were counteracted by half. Sitges agrees that “the effects of sport are multifactorial. There are genes that favor some diseases, but with certain habits we can lower the probability of suffering from them “
Protects the joints
Something as simple as walking can relieve joint pain. Dr. Jordi Monfort Faure, rheumatologist and director of the osteoarthritis unit at Hospital del Mar, assures that “within non-pharmacological measures, walking strengthens the knee and hips, the joints most affected by osteoarthritis. Something highly recommended in patients of a certain age or with a lot of weight”.
And not only that, we also strengthen the quadriceps. Therefore, the expert explains, pain is reduced and the evolution of the disease is delayed. In addition, the different tissues that make up the joint improve their nutrition thanks to regular exercise.
Improve our social life
It is very good to go out alone with your music to do sports, but sometimes the company can be crucial to end laziness and turn it into a fun and enjoyable task. For Dr. Sitges Serra, walking can be a social activity and can help people with depression. That’s because “it produces endorphins (the hormones of happiness) that help us feel better. It can also provide vitamin D, as it is an activity that takes place outdoors, and prevents diseases such as type 2 diabetes”.
What is the recommended frequency?
After knowing all these benefits, you are probably thinking about how much time you should take out of your day to walk. Sports medicine specialist Dr. Bigas recommends an average of 20-30 minutes a day in older patients, while for younger patients he advises adding higher intensity exercises, such as an hour in the gym or cycling.
Regarding intensity, the Nike master trainer, Paula Butragueño assures that “we must do low intensity cardiovascular work (CAB, Low Aerobic Capacity). This intensity depends on each person, which is usually between 55 and 65 of their maximum heart rate. Depending on our physical condition, there are those who achieve it by jogging or walking smoothly, although always at a pace with which a conversation can be held”.