Got 12 Minutes? Get Walking!
June 08, 2023Jun 08, 2023
3 MIN READ living outside wellness
We are all walking more than ever before – one of the silver linings in the dark cloud of the global pandemic. According to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association, roughly 115.8 million Americans walked for fitness in 2021. That’s more than double the number who ran (50 million).
We walked to cope. And then we kept walking. And numerous studies have shown why: Walking has a positive impact across multiple wellness areas, benefiting physical and mental health, enhancing cognition and creativity, and forming vital social connections.
We love how beneficial walking is so much that we designed a shoe to make the experience even better. And then we wrote a White Paper to share all the research we learned in the process. (And created a podcast about it!)
Need some inspiration to lace up those walking shoes and get out there? Here’s some really compelling proof that walking is awesome:
Over the course of a 12-minute walk, 522 metabolites (molecules that affect our heart, breathing, and brain) are altered positively. One literature review from 140 reports and 290 million people across 20 countries found that walking reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and stress. And a team of researchers at Harvard found that just 21 minutes of walking per day reduces the risk of heart disease by 30%.
The #stupidwalkchallenge may be a recent TikTok trend, but the knowledge that mental health is boosted, and stress relieved, through walking is nothing new. Hippocrates once advised that “if you are in a bad mood, go for a walk. If you are still in a bad mood, go for another walk.” Recent research backs up what we all already know. A study involving 1,843 participants walking for a combined 74,000 hours found a statistically significant drop in feelings of stress and depression among regular group walkers, many of whom also reported greater feelings of satisfaction. And walking in nature specifically has a pronounced effect on stress. One Finnish study found that levels of cortisol, a stress-regulating hormone, significantly dropped after walking among trees, reflecting a review of 22 clinical studies, which also identified dramatically lower cortisol levels in the saliva of woodland walkers.
Walking is not just about reduction in cortisol, decreased rates of depression, and increased creativity. It’s more than just counting steps and reaching goals. It’s more than the sum of a list of advantages for physical and mental wellbeing. It connects us to another fundamental human need: togetherness.
For thousands of years, humans have walked together en masse on pilgrimages, to find asylum, to protest for their rights, to raise money for causes. On a more intimate scale, they walk with partners, friends, and children to find connection and solace. Walking together allows for interpersonal synchronization, “an indicator of social interaction,” say cognitive neuroscientists at Caltech. This type of movement synchrony… can be a sign of “shared feelings of rapport, an affective state of mutual attention and positivity.”
OK, now we just want to shut our laptops and get out there. Do you geek out on data as much as we do? There’s a whole lot more of that to induce a sudden urge to walk in our Solve By Walking White Paper. Check it out here.