By: Sofia Bottari, Freshman
Walking is on track to being the most effective “wonder drug” we have. Former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Thomas Frieden is confident that walking is a reliable medicine. While walking increases weight loss and fitness, it decreases depression and anxiety as well. Through this simple activity, anyone can access a healthier lifestyle step by step.
For starters, walking reduces the amount of sick days during cold and flu season. While strolling in cold weather may be easy to resist, those who walk at least 20 minutes, at least 5 days a week had nearly 50% fewer sick days than those who exercised roughly once a week. In this study, those who walked regularly experienced much milder symptoms while sick than those who had minimal exercise. Another major advantage of walking is a reduced risk of having breast cancer. Women at higher risk for breast cancer, such as being overweight, can benefit from walking. Walking for thirty minutes daily lowers women’s risk by 3% than those who aren’t active. This substitute for intense exercise encourages a healthy weight to be maintained.
Mental health benefits can also result from walking outside. Similar to the positive endorphins released after a workout, walking is mood boosting, for it reduces stress, fatigue, and anxiety, and improves sleep quality. Getting regular physical activity increases one’s self esteem and lowers the risk of depression by 30%. For those currently struggling with their mental health, healthcare professionals often suggest walking as a remedy.
Aside from the physical and mental benefits walking brings, spending time in nature has its own benefits. Yes, the simple task of going outside lowers blood pressure, stress, and depression. Additionally, improved brain function and vision occur by being outside. Catching a glance of the trees, sun, and ocean naturally brings us joy! The next time you have the chance, consider strolling around the school hallways, your neighborhood, and beyond.