Joining a group for regular walks can make sticking to the habit easier and can even have more benefits than walking solo. Getting off your caboose and making tracks is increasingly important as America in general grows more sedentary and more overweight. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to make an impact, but you do need to be active on the regular. In order to get the most benefit from the time you have for being active and to keep it up for long-term success, joining (or forming!) a group for regular walks can be a real help.
Published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, a study by researchers at the University of East Anglia reviewed the results of over 40 other studies on the benefits of walking in groups or alone. Of course, being active in any capacity is always better than just sitting around, but walking in groups does seem to create numerous benefits, both mental and physical, beyond those of walking alone.
These included reductions in:
And, as the study states, “no notable adverse side effects.”
Exercising in groups can improve health, but for complete health, you’ll need to do a bit more.
Fortunately, according to study co-lead Sharon Hanson, “People who walk in groups also tend to have a more positive attitude toward physical activity, a shared experience of wellness, and say they feel less lonely and isolated. Taking regular walks can also be a catalyst for adopting other healthy behaviours.”
If you’ve tried to improve your health in the past without lasting success, you likely know how difficult making new activities into habits can be. Whether you’re young or old, then, taking group walks can be a gateway for other great habits, like more strenuous exercises, better diet and even improved sleep hygiene.
And that’s a big deal! Americans, for a variety of reasons, walk less than other developed countries. Coupled with poor diet and sleep deprivation, Americans are at a raised risk of heart disease, cancer, poor Insulin Efficiency and many other problems.
Wherever you might be, there is likely a group online that you can easily join for walks. If not, just grab a few friends and go exploring! Getting healthy shouldn’t be a slog. Having others around helps you stick to your plans, stay enthusiastic, push yourself further and have fun.
Many cities have great downtown areas, parks and other thoroughfares that can combine exercise with all sorts of other interesting things, like bird-watching, window-shopping or just taking in a sunset.
This type of cardio activity is also a great way of preparing your body for other workouts, like strength training, that will really get you the most fit when combined. You can learn more about starting out from the Olumia Life app.
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