Your doctor may prescribe walking as a “wonder drug” for your health. Walking has surprising benefits:
1. Counters weight-promoting genes: A daily brisk hour-long walk halves the effects of obesity-promoting genes.
2. Curbs sweet cravings: Just a 15-minute walk reduces chocolate cravings, even in stressful situations.
3. Lowers breast cancer risk: Women walking seven or more hours weekly have a 14% lower breast cancer risk, even with risk factors.
4. Eases joint pain: Walking reduces arthritis pain and can prevent its development with just five to six miles per week.
5. Boosts immune function: Walking at least 20 minutes, five days a week, results in 43% fewer sick days during cold and flu season.
Learn more about these benefits in Harvard Medical School’s “Walking for Health” report.
Engage with like minded people and walk your way to better physical and mental health.
When you sign up for San Diego Social Leagues Walking Club, you'll receive plenty of incentives to prioritize your well being. With monthly achievements, you'll qualify and receive rewards for your commitment to your own self-care.
Lower your risk of heart disease
Improve your blood pressure and blood sugar levels
Boost bone density, since walking is a weight-bearing exercise
Build strength in your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and the muscles in your hips and lower legs
Strengthen your core
Help control your weight
Boost your mood. “Research shows that hiking has a positive impact on combating the symptoms of stress and anxiety,” says Gregory A. Miller, PhD, president of the American Hiking Society. “Being in nature is ingrained in our DNA, and we sometimes forget that.”
You can get more out of your hiking with these fitness-boosting strategies.
Start slow. A short, local hike is best for beginners. Gradually work up to trails with hills or uneven terrain.
Use poles. Digging into the ground and propelling yourself forward pushes your upper body muscles to work harder and gives you a stronger cardio workout.
Head for the hills. Even a small hill will intensify your heart rate and burn extra calories. Miller says a 5% to 10% incline equals a 30% to 40% increase in calorie burn.
Bump it up. Uneven terrain can work muscles while improving balance and stability.
Weigh yourself down. Stock your day pack with extra weight. (Water’s a good option.) According to Miller, a 10- to 15-pound day pack will boost your calorie burn by 10% to 15% while strengthening your lower back muscles.
Get into a groove. On the days you can’t make it to the trails, power-walk on a hilly terrain while carrying various degrees of weight in a backpack — it will keep your hiking skills and fitness level on track.
Bring a buddy. It’s best not to hike alone at first, especially on unfamiliar or remote trails. A partner or group can help you navigate and assist if you get hurt. As your skill level improves, you’ll feel more comfortable going solo.
Know before you go. Familiarize yourself with the trail map. Check the weather, and dress and pack accordingly. If storms are a possibility, rethink your plan. Follow marked paths and trails.