Benefits of walking

Benefits of walking

Pick up the pace to boost your health

Walking is a great way to add incidental exercise to your day. But if you want to reap the health benefits, it might be time to pick up the pace.

A new study from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the United States found brisk walkers are, on average, healthier than those who meander. The study analysed data from 39,000 walkers who completed surveys starting in 1998.

The results show a faster walking pace is linked with living longer. And if you're walking for health, you should be walking faster than 15 minutes per kilometre. 

Time to check your walking pace?

  • Time yourself walking 400m.
  • Any time under 6 minutes is considered acceptable.
  • If it takes more than 6 minutes, ask your doctor about ways to improve your fitness.

Let your dog take you for a walk

The evidence continues to grow surrounding the health benefits of walking. A recent study from Miami University in Ohio has shown the connection between owning a dog and increased walking habits.

The study found for those aged over 60, owning a dog was associated with a lower body mass index, less frequent visits to the doctor and fewer physical limitations. 

There's no shortage of beautiful places to take your dog for a walk in our area – and to get your exercise done at the same time.  

Here are our top 5 dog walking parks:

1. Sydney Park – Features extensive off-leash areas, a bespoke water feature especially for dogs, and a café that sells dog treats. The City also holds regular dog obedience classes within the park which are free for residents.

2. Glebe Foreshore Parklands – If your pup's a water lover, this harbourside walk has a small beach with water access.

3. Edmund Resch Reserve (East Redfern) – A great spot to meet up with other local dog walkers.

4. Rushcutters Bay Park – This park is off-leash from 4.30pm until 8.30am and features fitness stations for that extra health boost.

5. Joynton Park (Zetland) – Great location for the growing Green Square area, which includes a barbecue area to end your dog walk with a picnic.

Why walking works

From reducing your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, a stroke and cancer to kick-starting weight loss and keeping your heart healthy, walking is the perfect exercise. Here are 5 more reasons to walk every day.

1. Mood booster

20 minutes of moderate intensity walking a day can help manage stress and anxiety by releasing feel-good endorphins into the bloodstream. Step up the pace a little and you'll be pumping more oxygen around your body and feeling more alert.

2. Turns back the clock 

Walking is one of the best ways to delay dementia. Just a short walk 3 times a week has been shown to increase the size of brain regions linked to planning and memory. That's equivalent to reversing the age clock by up to 2 years.

3. You'll live longer

For every hour of brisk walking, life expectancy can increase by up to 2 hours. And the more you do it, the easier it gets - walking for as few as 30 minutes a day improves your heart by raising the heart rate and increasing exercise tolerance.

4. It's cheap and easy 

Health care professionals rate walking as the best exercise because it's safe, cheap, accessible and has the lowest dropout rate. And there's no need to go thirsty while you're out walking the streets – our map will help you find a water bubbler nearby.

5. You'll help save our city 

One of the best ways to tackle traffic congestion is to increase levels of walking. You can comfortably fit 30 pedestrians in the space taken by 1 car at around 50km/h. It also drastically reduces damaging vehicle emissions.

Last updated: Tuesday, 25 October 2016