- Serena Gocke
- BBC News
You may do a lot in order to preserve your health and your life; Sometimes you exercise hard and regularly, and sometimes you follow a strict diet, but the way to avoid many diseases and reduce the risk of premature death, according to a recent American study, may lie in walking on a daily basis.
Walking is perhaps the only sport that does not cause side effects, and according to many studies, it does not often cause damage to the musculoskeletal system or put pressure on the joints, as jogging may do, for example.
Therefore, the great benefits of walking remain a motivation, over the years, to continue research and study in order to explore more of its benefits.
American researchers from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst recently concluded that walking 7000 steps per day in middle age can reduce the risk of premature death by up to 70 percent.
This percentage may seem relatively large, but Dr. William Baird, a general practitioner from Britain, believes that “this percentage is not exaggerated as some believe, when knowing the great benefits of walking and the many diseases that contribute to avoiding it, there will be no room for question.”
Dr. Beard elaborates on the great benefits of walking by saying that “fast walking leads to the production of more natural killer cells, which are an important part of our immune system as a first line of defense against foreign bodies and viruses that enter our bodies through the mouth or nose.”
The benefits of walking are not limited to the immune system only, as it contributes to promoting mental and physical health; It prevents heart disease and type 2 diabetes, stimulates blood circulation, improves sleep, and relieves stress and psychological stress. But are these benefits achieved across all types of walking?
According to Dr. Bird, walking of all kinds is beneficial to health, overall, and is still better than not, but walking speed plays a significant role in avoiding early death and chronic diseases, according to the study.
To see if your stride is fast enough to achieve these benefits, Dr. Bird says, “Try to sing while you’re walking. If you can, you’re not walking fast enough.” During brisk walking, you may be able to talk but not sing.
Certainly, walking is beneficial for all age groups, but various studies focus on its importance in the lives of middle-aged people, in particular; Because diseases related to blood pressure, diabetes, etc., often begin to appear at this age.
Thanks to advances in technology, you can walk and let the different apps on your smartphone record data about your trip, from how many calories you burn and measure your heart rate to how low your stress level is.
In recent decades, walking has become a culture in developed countries, where places for exercise are available, but walking may be a form of luxury in other areas. Due to the lack of suitable places and streets, and the lack of transportation, in some Arab countries such as Syria, Lebanon and others, many people are forced to walk for long distances, especially with the exacerbation of the economic crises and the lack of fuel in those countries.
“People today in Lebanon walk a lot, not for health reasons, but to save a little money,” said the Lebanese citizen, Theodore Abi Nasser, while wandering in a crowded Beirut street.
In Syria, the situation is not much different. According to Sia Daghmoush, who, in turn, is aware of the importance of walking for public health, “Syrians are forced to walk because of the lack of fuel, including gasoline and diesel for different means of transportation, which is not normal in my opinion.”
Far from being forced or optional, the researchers agree that this will not diminish the benefits of walking.
“Walking in crowded streets, which may have high levels of air pollution, remains less of a risk than the health problems that a lack of walking and movement may bring,” says Dr. Bird.
Technical development and increased reliance on modern technology in many sectors have led to the creation of jobs that require sitting for long periods in front of screens, which increases the risk of physical and psychological diseases, and the modern man has adapted, in turn, to this technological development, after it was, in the old days. He is forced to spend most of his day moving around in search of food.
There is no doubt that modern technologies have led to a decline in the physical effort that people had to make, but they also devoted the need for brain power and creative thinking, in most sectors, and the good news is that walking can stimulate creative thinking and activate our brains to come up with ideas and solutions, so when It’s hard to hand in a paper or finish a task your boss has assigned you to, just take a walk.