The popular notion is that a walk is not a physical exercise but a leisure activity. But a new study could upend that idea. Conducted in Australia by the University of Queensland, research now says that a 30-minute weekly walk in the woods can help reduce depression and high blood pressure issues, while also enhancing mental health and keeping you active.
Studying those who make visits to green spaces, the study linked the activity to lower rates of depression and high blood pressure, while those who visited more frequently also displayed greater social cohesion. Visits to outdoor green spaces for half an hour or more in a week could reduce the prevalence of depression by up to 7 percent, according to the study, while high blood pressure and related illnesses are cut back by 9 percent. The benefits of spending more time outdoors also benefits children, and not just seniors or adults.
Earlier studies have suggested that your neighbourhood dictates exactly how active or fit you are. Researchers at University of California, US studied daily activity of over 6,800 people and correlated it to where they live. Neighborhoods with high residential density which tend to have connected streets, shops and services, encouraged people to walk more often. As we all know sedentary lifestyle leads to a host of diseases including diabetes and heart conditions.
So the need of the hour is to provide urban residents some relief in the form of parks, and better and safer public transport to counter the rapid concretisation of open spaces. Even without such a neighbourhood, a walk is one of the easiest ways to get fit. Get your 30-minute weekly walk with mobiefit WALK, which lets you set yourself a training program around walking, or just choose the FreeWalk mode to set your own time or distance for the walk.