What if we told you that there is one thing you could do for 30 minutes each day that would dramatically improve your physical, emotional and mental health?

It’s not a gimmick or a pill. And it’s not the latest diet or exercise craze.

It’s walking.

While we all know how important physical activity is to every aspect of human health, sometimes there are days where we just can’t make it to the gym. Life is hectic and having a simple activity in your back pocket for those days when you can’t fit in a full workout is key to lifelong wellness.

Dr. Mike Evans reviewed the research on the impact of walking and low-to-moderate physical activity on overall health and found out some startlingly positive effects:

  • It is the #1 treatment of fatigue
  • Rates of pain and disability for people with knee Arthritis were reduced by 47%
  • Walking reduces progression of Dementia and Alzheimer’s in older adults by around 50%
  • Walking reduces anxiety by 48% and improves the health of people suffering depression significantly
  • Rates of heart disease in women is cut by half when an individual increases physical activity from zero to just one hour a week
  • People that walk for more than 21 minutes a day experience a 29% reduction in rates of high blood pressure and hypertension, and then a 12% further decrease for every additional 10 minutes of moderate physical activity

Dr. Evan’s review of existing research found that low fitness is the strongest predictor of death.

One study even found that adults that watch six hours of TV a day live five years less than those who don’t. Sedentary living is a big barrier to each Canadian reaching their potential and living a full—and well—life.

The good news is that walking is much easier to fit into your day and week than many other forms of physical activity. Here are some tips from Dr. Evan’s:

  1. Make a habit of going for a walk together as a family every night after dinner or, if you are on your own, schedule regular walks with a close friend who lives nearby.
  2. Get off the bus a few stops earlier and walk the rest of the way to work each day.
  3. Make a habit of taking a 30 minute walk with your partner every morning or evening. That way you get the minimum fitness level you need for wellness and you have a set time to organize and discuss family life together.
  4. Rely on your dog as your walking coach. One study found that 67% of dog walkers achieve 150 minutes of physical activity per week just by dog walking.Pre-book a scheduled activity with friends like tennis, running, walking or basketball.

If each of us is moderately physically active for 30 minutes a day, our bodies, minds and spirits will receive the biggest return on investment and have a true impact on the quality of our lives.

This article was written based on Dr. Evans’ research by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. To learn more about Dr. Evans’ research visit, visit www.evanshealthlab.com or view his video here.