Youngest daughter told me how much walking she has done this week. Apparently, she can walk a mile a day in lieu of a gym class. The kids today. I tell you. *adjusts onion on belt*

Oldest daughter returned from a semester abroad in Ireland. I was regaled with stories of her walking all over the place. Then she went for an exercise walk. Maybe there is something to this.

Walking is a great introductory exercise. The health benefits of walking include healthier blood sugar and a stronger cardiovascular system. It stimulates blood flow to the brain and the rest of the body, boosting our metabolism, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress, and improving our overall mood. It also lowers blood pressure.

Just 30 minutes per day of walking can significantly improve mental health (including reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety) and boost immunity, according to a study published in the Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. Regarding chronic disease risk, as long as you’re expending enough energy with your chosen form of cardio, you lower your risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.


Walking and Weight Loss

While walking is fantastic for your brain and body, and can certainly increase longevity and improve mood, walking is not the most efficient type of workout if you’re aiming to lose weight.

To lose weight, we need to be at a caloric deficit. This means we need to burn more calories than we are consuming.

Brisk walking at a rate of 4 to 5 miles per hour can burn just about as many calories per mile as running at a slow speed, Walker adds. And since it involves less pounding, your body is less prone to injuries so you may be able to stick to your healthy habit longer and stronger. But since runners cover more distance in the same amount of time, and running is more demanding on the cardiovascular system, you burn more calories if we’re comparing minute by minute.


How Much to Walk Each Day

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults aim for 150 minutes of moderate- intensity exercise per week for health, and 300 minutes per week for weight loss. Moderate-intensity walking would be a brisk pace, which for most individuals probably fall between 3 to 4 miles per hour. This would equate to a 15- to 20-minute-per-mile walking pace. If you don’t want to track your pace, simply try the talk test. Moderate-intensity exercise should have you breathing heavily enough that you can talk, but not sing.


This week’s music is about walking