Benefits of walking during quarantine
September 19, 2020
These past few months have been a nightmare for billions of people around the globe. Many were separated from friends and colleagues for months at a time, trapped in their own homes, causing the development of an unhealthy lifestyle or mental illness. One strategy to fight these problems is to implement daily walks.
Walking is a simple, yet very beneficial exercise for one to do during times like these. Not only does it help with physical fitness, it also is an efficient tool in improving mental health.
Walking is a vital tool in improving one’s cardiovascular health. Walking only 5 and a half miles per week at 2 miles per hour can decrease risk of heart attacks and stroke by 33% and mortality by 32% according to Harvard Medical School. This leisurely activity may also help with factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, vascular stiffness and inflammation, and mental stress.
Weight loss is also a beneficial area where walking can assist. According to a study done by Harvard Medical School, men who walk 1.3 miles a day have a 22% lower mortality rate than men who are inactive. Another interesting figure displaying weight improvements shows that as a whole, people from cities who typically walk to work are 37% overweight and 13% obese while people from suburbs who typically drive to work are 45% overweight and 23% obese.
As time at home rises during the pandemic, sedentary lifestyle rates increase as well. According to a Harvard Medical School study, 8.3% of all deaths of people 25 and older are attributed to living a sedentary lifestyle, and this information was obtained before the pandemic was prevalent. Now is the time where walking is as vital as ever in battling the war on obesity and inactivity.
Mental illness problems may arise from social isolation, which is frequently encouraged at this time. Walking is a fantastic tool in combating mental health troubles during the pandemic. According to Walking for Health Organization (WHO), walking improves self-perception, self-esteem, mood, sleep quality, and reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue. People that walk regularly are 30% less likely to become depressed than people that do not walk. Walking also helps the elderly improve cognitive function, memory, attention, processing speed, and reduces chances for cognitive decline and dementia.
For people that already have mental illnesses such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, walking is a successful way to recover from these problems. According to a woman named Kath with bipolar disorder from WHO, “Walking has always been there for me, my confidence has grown immensely. I’m a totally different person now than I was ten years ago, and I owe so much of that to walking.” Walking is a long-term investment that can change anyone’s life for the better.
If one ever feels down in the dumps from staying home and completing online school away from friends, they should consider going for a walk; it may change their life.