Is This the Best Form of Exercise There Is?
A convincing argument for...
In a recent article from Outside, writer Brad Stulberg did a thorough exploration of the health benefits of walking, pouring over studies and anecdotal observations of putting one foot in front of the other. Make no mistake: You won't find us hoofing it to a marathon training bootcamp or buying a monthly unlimited pass to our local CrossFit any time soon. But walking? That's a form of exercise we can get behind.
As Stulberg examined, the upsides of taking daily brisk walks are numerous (and did we mention the activity is free?), and the scientific research is convincing. In 2018, the British Journal of Sports Medicine devoted an entire issue to walking, placing this study on walking and cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality front-and-center. The findings of the clunkily-named "Self-rated walking pace and all-cause, cardiovascular disease and cancer mortality: individual participant pooled analysis of 50 225 walkers from 11 population British cohorts" revealed what you could probably guess — regular walking is really, really good for you. The self-reported data found that walking at an average, brisk, or fast pace correlated with a 20% reduction in dying from any cause and a 24% reduction in dying from cardiovascular disease.
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Now, if the cynic in your head is wondering, "but surely walking can't be that good for your health. What about running?" Well, yes, running is good for you, too, but as Stulberg puts it, "Though experts believe running may be marginally better for you, that’s only if you don’t get injured and manage to run regularly, something that more than 50 percent of runners (myself included) struggle with."
Some more perks of walking: You can enjoy catching up with friends while you stroll, you don't have to change into gym clothes, and you can do it virtually anywhere. No more excuses — it's time to lace up. Oh wait, this is walking, slip-ons are just fine.