Updated: 2019, Oct 16

Why 15 Minutes of Brisk Walking Can Make Your Day Healthy

A quick 15-minute brisk walk will have a positive impact on just about every aspect of your health.
brisk walking
Brisk walking for health and fitness. Shutterstock Images

We’re so excited to bring you this guest post on 15 minutes of brisk walking from Anita Fernandes and the editors at EverydayHealth.com. Read on to find how 15 minutes of brisk walking can make your day healthy.

Modern life is associated with a fast-paced lifestyle and jam-packed schedules. Surveys show that the main reason why people don’t exercise is a lack of time.

Most people say that they just don’t have the time to commute to and from a gym on a daily basis.

Health experts recommend approximately 30 minutes of moderate-intensity per day but even if you are unable to do this, even a simple 15-minute brisk walk will offer several short-term and long-term health benefits.

How a daily 15-min brisk walk can improve your health

You don’t have to invest a lot of time and money in staying fit.

Here’s how a daily 15-minute brisk walk will improve your health:

1. Reduces Anxiety and Stress

According to the ADA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America) , a simple 10-15 minute walk can help to reduce anxiety and stress. Physical exercise helps to reduce the level of cortisol (the stress hormone) while simultaneously stimulating the production of endorphins which are natural mood elevators.

Elevated stress levels for prolonged periods have been linked to hypertension, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and many more which is why a daily 15-minute brisk walk will help to reduce your risk of all these conditions.

2. Improves Cognitive Functions

Walking has several long-term benefits for overall mental health including a decreased risk of cognitive conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

However, recent studies prove that walking also has short-term benefits for mental health, including an improvement in cognitive functions[1].

Even a short 15-minute brisk walk will speed up blood circulation, reduce mental fatigue and give you a brain boost. You can go for your walk during the afternoon to help you cope with your workday and improve your performance.

3. Lowers Obesity Risk

The worldwide obesity epidemic has led to a drastic increase in weight loss gadgets and wearables. However, a recent study found that just 15 minutes of brisk walking on a daily basis can help to increase physical activity enough to prevent weight gain in most populations.

This is because you would burn approximately 150 calories when walking at a brisk pace for 15 minutes which will help to compensate for excess calories consumed over the course of the day.

You can increase your walking speed or duration to increase the number of calories you expend and overcome obesity.

4. Improves Sleep

Studies show that exercise can improve sleep quality as it has positive effects on sleep onset latency, total sleep time and sleep efficiency. Unlike soporific drugs that often have side-effects, exercise improves sleep quality without any notable adverse effects.

Go for a brisk 15-min walk at least 3 hours before bedtime as vigorous exercise just before sleep can disrupt your sleep cycle.

If you suffer from insomnia, you can increase your walking speed as this will help you fall asleep more easily. You can also include foods to help you sleep in your regular diet to improve your sleep pattern.

5. Protects Vision

After a long workday in front of your computer, your eyes often feel tired and dry and your vision seems blurry.

This is a common problem that occurs because your eyes are forced to stay focused on a close-range object – your monitor for a prolonged period which strains the muscles of your eyes. This type of strain on a regular basis could also have a long-lasting impact on your vision.

A recent study found that aerobic exercise such as brisk walking can help to improve vision and overall eye health as is neuroprotective for retinal degeneration[2].

6. Prevent Lower Back Pain

Sedentary jobs require employees to stay seated for several hours at a stretch so it’s not surprising that back pain has become the single leading cause of disability around the world. Postural stress caused by sitting for a prolonged period with poor posture (rounded-back position) is the most common cause of lower back pain.

A study on the effects of walking on lower back pain found that participants that followed a regular walking routine were less likely to suffer from lower back pain than inactive participants.

They also found that a 12-week walking-based intervention reduced lower back pain and might be effective in treating lower back pain.

The short-term benefits of walking will allow you to enjoy a healthier day while the long-term benefits will improve your overall wellness.

Even if you have a packed schedule, make time for a 15-minute brisk walk at the end of your workday. This is especially important if you suffer from weight issues as even a short walk will help to prevent emotional eating.

Furthermore, your walk will help to lower your stress levels which in turn improves digestion and prevents minor digestive issues such as excess gas and bloating.

As you can see, a quick 15-minute brisk walk will have a positive impact on just about every aspect of your health.

About the Author

Anita Fernandes has been writing extensively on mental health and wellness for over a decade. She has expertise in nutrition, fitness, public health, and weight loss and has contributed content to a variety of leading digital health publishers. Anita has a unique perspective on healthy living and lifestyle, as she has battled and overcome eating disorders and obesity. She shares her experiences in an effort to help others overcome the physical and mental health problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable.

References

[1] Prim Care Companion J Clin Psychiatry. 2006; 8(2): 106. PMCID: PMC1470658. PMID: 16862239. Exercise for Mental Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
[2] J Neurosci. 2014 Feb 12;34(7):2406-12. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2062-13.2014. Aerobic exercise protects retinal function and structure from light-induced retinal degeneration. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24523530/

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