Walking is a quintessential part of life on campus. By looking at the pedometer on my iPhone, I found that on a typical day of classes I average around 9 miles of walking, and I am not alone. Every day I see thousands of students out walking to classes, to dining halls, or just taking a casual stroll. Not only is walking the most effective means of transportation on campus, but it also could have great health benefits for students and faculty. Walking has been found to have surprising health benefits.
For example, walkers were found to have significantly less risk of heart disease. The benefits of walking on heart disease were found to be even better than running, as walking decreases your chances of heart disease by about 4.5% more than running. Also, walking is a good form of exercise. Running clearly trumps walking in terms of calories burned and aerobic intake, but briskly walking has been found to be a surprisingly good workout. Walking also puts less strain on your heart than running. When doing intense exercise such as running for a prolonged period of time, your heart chambers over-expand, causing micro-tears. If you repeatedly experience this, you can actually develop scar tissue on your heart and be more prone to heart disease later in life. Walking, and exercise in general have significant mental health benefits as well. A brisk walk has been found to release endorphins, the chemical in our brain that make us feel good. The endorphins released from a brisk walk have been found to have the same effect as an antidepressant for people with mild depression. Other benefits of walking are the improvement of circulation, bone density, and muscle strength.
Overall, walking has too many significant health benefits to pass up. So next time you find yourself sitting at a bus stop waiting for the next Blue Loop, keep your health in mind and get walking.