Since balance has been mentioned a couple times, I’ll mention some advice I like to pass on: a simple exercise everyone can do every day is make a point of putting on/off your shoes and socks while standing instead of sitting. If you can do it safely or you can cheat by having your bum near a wall to lean on.
I’ve been walking an average of 10 hours per day the last 4 years, for much of that time I had no significant lifestyle or diet changes. My blood pressure went from around 140/90 to 118/70 last I checked. I was obese and I’m technically still “overfat,” but since 90% of US population is “overfat” and a significant % obese or morbidly obese, the average observer probably would have never really referred to me as a “fat guy.” I really was though, and still kinda am but I’m leaner and more muscular now. Had a good 25lb permanent fat loss, probably as much as 40-45 at one point but the 25 stuck. I’m 42 and I also look younger than I did when I was 38, maybe even 32, definitely healthier looking. When I made diet changes and got more consistent with lifting, my body composition certainly got better faster, but just the walking did a lot. Sometimes I wake up early and go for an extra walk in the park.
Ten hours per day? Is this part of your job?
My sedentary lifestyle caught up with me two years ago to the tune of a double-bypass operation. When I was released from the hospital, my doctor told me to start walking as soon as I could. At first I could only do a couple of ten-minute stretches, but now I walk an hour a day, either outside or at the Y. I’m still a bit overweight, but my BP is down, my cholesterol is down, and I have had absolutely no illnesses since my surgery. Is walking really good for one’s health? Um, yeah.
This is exactly what my husband’s doctor recommended for his BP issues. Walking by itself makes it possible to keep moving, aka, keeps the joints lubricated. The faster you go, the more benefit for cardiovascular health. We’re normally somewhere between level 4 and 6:
I’m betting Amazon. As a Picker, you walk all day, 10 hour shifts.
Back in 2012 my dad and I went to Italy for 14 nights. Despite numerous gelato stops and many desserts I lost 15 pounds because we walked whenever we could since it was mostly the easiest way to get to wherever.
Oh, yeah. Any time I’ve been any place outside the US, I’ve walked so much. Doesn’t matter where-- Greece, London, Moscow, Jerusalem, Costa Rica, Prague-- walked everywhere.
Percentile of what, exactly?
A real difference of what? What exactly are you asking?
As far as this question:
I think the answer is clearly “yes” because to answer “no” implies that walking has no health benefits or even worse, actually harms you.
The exercise you get is better than the exercise you don’t get.
Sure, walking may not be as good as [fill in more demanding exercise here], but if there’s no way you’re going to actually do [more demanding exercise] but you can convince yourself to go for a walk, then walking is damn sure better than nothing. Regular walking will certainly keep your metabolism functioning at a higher level than if you spend all day sitting on the sofa.
I can’t seriously see anyone who goes running every morning, or bikes everywhere deciding to give up those activities and just start walking a few miles a day, because they read an article saying that walking is good exercise.
Everyone I know who walks (excluding hikers) went from being extremely sedentary to walking regularly. A few even used walking as a segue to more challenging exercise.
I do know a few people who hike really challenging terrain-- I did before I had the boychik-- and that is serious exercise.
I’ve started doing this, and i think it’s been quite helpful. I actually worked up to it. I started by just standing on one foot briefly as i got dressed in the morning. My encroaching wobbliness has cleared up.
It’s nice because it takes effectively no time.
Just to amplify what many others have said, walking – particularly when compared to being sedentary – is a multi-faceted win.
There tends to be a dynamic with (un)healthy lifestyle that reminds me a bit of the Broken Windows Theory in that healthy choices tend to reinforce their own efforts and lead to other healthy choices while unhealthy choices can militate toward more unhealthy choices.
But as a lifelong runner, cyclist, etc. (ie, fast HR, fast pace) junkie, I’d also say that there are more qualitative benefits to walking. It’s a great pace at which to see nature (though I always found cycling a better pace at which to explore neighborhoods and cities) and to chat with a walking buddy.
It also just tends to slow us down, often even relative to doing nothing. Doing too much of nothing can breed anxiety. Walking can not only inherently ameliorate that to a degree, it is also well suited to a ‘mindfulness practice,’
I’ve never known highly Type A people who reduced that part of their personality through lots of endurance (high HR) exercise, but – like yoga and a number of other paths – I’ve known lots who gained more of an obvious calm through slower-paced pursuits.
And if and as your clothes fit better, your sleep is improved, and your general sense of well-being are enhanced, it really does seem easier to cut out those dietary vices that nagged you so tenaciously for so long.
When I visited Seattle a few years ago I ate like crap but my sugar levels remained well within acceptable levels. I attributed it to all the walking I was doing every day.
I read it as “people who are in the middle, as far as overall health” – in other words, those not among the least healthy (i.e., the bottom 20%), and those not among the most healthy (i.e., the top 20%). That said, I’m not aware of any actual test or ranking like this, so I didn’t take the mention of percentiles literally.
I lift weights avidly and think most people would benefit from strength training. But walking is about as valuable, and even exercise physiologists recommend combining strenuous exercise with walking (google NEAT and non-exercise thermogenesis for details) to burn more calories, relax and rest the joints. And walking up mountains is quite arduous.
I have not spent a great deal of time in the US. I have enjoyed hiking in New Hampshire and New York. But most American urban areas seem very poorly suited for walking. It’s sometimes difficult and unpleasant to do urban walking at all compared to other countries. Even walking to hotels just off the strip in Vegas, for example, instead of taking the shuttle is surprisingly rough. I guess most people don’t do that.
In the US you are more dependent on being in a “walkable” city. Mine is great for this, but I’ve lived where it was not at all pleasant to walk anywhere.
The US is unusual in that a great number of cities were built after cars were invented. You don’t have cities like that in other parts of the world.
Another thing about the US, though, that really drives me nuts, is proprietary parking. You go to a store, and park in one of the five spaces in front of it for its patrons, then you leave, and want to go to another place half a block down. You’d rather walk, but you have to drive, because the store will have you towed otherwise. After all, they have just five spaces for their customers.
I understand many cities in the US assume the use of a car. Some cities and many suburbs grew after cars were widely adopted. That was some time ago.
How this results in a widespread lack of sidewalks or other walking amenities is less clear. I mean, one could easily require them on a municipal level. If you operate a business any means of allowing customer access might help. There are health and quality of life benefits.
I always assumed the lack was due to a desire to limit taxes and a stereotype that better walking might lead to more vagrancy or undesirables. I am not persuaded this is true. But some States seem more empathetic to the needs of their citizenry than others and of course they should determine their own priorities. In general, lower taxes sometimes mean significant compromise on infrastructure. One must be careful about sweeping generalizations and I am sure the above do not always apply.
Oh wow! Around here the lot typically says “parking for customers of 79-105 Washington Street”, so you can stay in the lot as long as you are at any of the adjacent shops.
Also, I live in a walkable town, perhaps because it was largely developed before 1900.