The warm spring sun is often enough of a reason to get outside, but for those who need more inspiration, experts say that a brisk walk can reduce stress and prevent illness.
It is no secret that exercise can improve overall health. Still, the value of walking is often overlooked as it is the easiest (and cheapest) form of moderate exercise. Check out some of the significant benefits of walking below, then slap on some sunscreen and get walking!
A brisk walk is an excellent form of exercise – as long as you’re doing it right! When walking as exercise, you should be slightly out of breath and feel your heart beating a little faster. Getting exercise this way can protect against many types of cancers, including cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, kidney, and stomach. Regular exercise can also prevent obesity, a risk factor for many cancers. Additionally, it can also improve immune system function, control hormones related to cancer growth, and prevent high blood glucose levels of insulin.
Exercise is associated with releasing endorphins or ‘feel good’ hormones. While all activity is good for your body, the higher intensity workouts have been found to release more endorphins. Regular exercise can also aid in lowering the body’s stress hormones over time.
Lower Blood Pressure
Moderate exercise, such as walking, can reduce blood pressure by managing stress and keeping the body physically healthy. Controlling blood pressure means you are 25% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease. Tragically, cardiovascular disease is responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths in the U.S.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh reported that spinal surgery patients experienced less pain, stress, and took fewer pain medications during their recoveries when exposed to natural light. Another study showed that the view out the window (trees vs. a brick wall) affected patient recovery. A body that is well-equipped to heal itself is beneficial in all circumstances, but cancer patients may find it particularly helpful, especially if undergoing surgery.
Perhaps the most immediate benefit to spending time outdoors is a scientifically proven better mood. Simply put, researchers have found that nature makes us happy and decreases anxiety, depression, and anger. Tragically, cancer patients are more likely to experience these symptoms than the general population. A quick mood boost can be exceptionally beneficial to patients and their loved ones. However, it is essential to remember that depression is a serious condition and should be discussed with a professional as early as possible.