“Walk It Off“:
To attempt to alleviate an injury, typically a leg or foot injury, by walking until the pain dissipates. Typically used as an imperative, sometimes one intended to be humorous.
I’m sure it’s only a bruise. Just walk it off.
There’s only a little bit of blood. Walk it off!
I tried walking it off, but I really think I broke something in my foot.The Free Dictionary by Farlex
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Why You Should Walk It Off
Growing up, my dad was famous for telling us to “walk it off”. He said it so often that now it’s a family inside joke. Turns out, he was right. Here are 20 reasons why you should walk it off:
It Burns Calories
This one is pretty freaking obvious, but it’s still a valid reason. Also, believe it or not, the longer and faster you walk, the more calories you burn. I’m sure you already knew that, though.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Aim to walk at a brisk pace for 30 minutes a day for weight management and 60 minutes a day for weight loss. But, if you can’t handle 30 minutes at a brisk pace when you first start, don’t beat yourself up. Start with a shorter amount of time, or consider varying your speed every so often to last the full 30 minutes. Increase your walk time and speed gradually. Consistent effort is better than a once-in-a-while big bang.
Reduce Body Fat and Build Muscle
While walking is never going to build the same kind of muscle that weight training does, it’s better for your muscles than sitting! Walking for at least 30 minutes a day will help tone and strengthen your whole body, even the troublesome legs, hips, butt, and belly.
Counteracts Weight Promoting Genes
Scientists have identified genes that promote weight gain. A study by Harvard showed that daily brisk walking counteracts the effects of those bad genes by up to 50%!
Improve Your Cardiovascular Health
My dad’s mom and my mom’s mom were the same age. Dad’s mom ate reasonably enough but led a sedentary life. Mom’s mom almost never sits still, and in her senior years took up the habit of walking 3-6 miles a day around an indoor track where she lives in Southern Utah. By the time they were in their late 70s, my dad’s mom needed a walker or a motorized cart to get around. My mom’s mom had her doctor tell her she had the cardiovascular system of a 40-year-old athlete.
Today, my dad’s mom is no longer with us. My mom’s mom is alive and kicking. She’s still able to live (and walk) on her own. To me, she’s the #1 reason why you should walk it off.
Improve Your Endurance
Endurance is the body’s ability to continue to function in times of stress. Regular brisk walking improves your endurance, allowing you to put up with more and for longer.
I don’t know about you, but I am always looking for ways to have more energy. As a working mom, even now that my kids are (mostly) grown, I feel like I never, ever have enough energy. Do you feel the same? Then you should walk it off.
Improve Balance and Coordination
It seems like every group has a clumsy friend. If you can’t think of one in your group, it might be you. Do you trip over “invisible” bumps on the sidewalk or have thighs covered in bruises you can’t explain? If the clumsy one is you, go for a daily walk. If it’s a friend of yours, take them on a daily walk. 😉
Reduce Stress and Tension
A lot of the people that I know have high-stress careers, so it’s likely that you do too. These days, fewer and fewer career paths can be considered low-stress, am I right? Talking walk breaks during your work day makes you more productive, and they help you reduce and manage stress and tension levels. Hell yes!
Perhaps due to the lower stress and the tension dissipating from your body, walking helps you sleep better. I know I can always use a better night’s sleep. What about you? Do uninterrupted ZZZs sound nice?
Improved Brain Functions
You should walk it off to improve brain functions like:
- Cognition, and
- Memory (can decrease Alzheimer’s and dementia risk by up to 50%)
Makes You a Problem Solver
Next time you’re stuck on an issue or project at work, take a walk. No, seriously. Walking helps you to clear your mind and opens up your channels for creative thinking. Clear minds and creative thinking are how solutions are found and problems are solved!
Stronger Immune System
Regular walking strengthens your immune system and may even protect you during cold/flu/covid season. One study found that participants that walked every day had 43% fewer sick days than the participants who did not. And, when they did get sick, they were out for a shorter length of time and had less severe symptoms.
Control Your Sugar Tooth
If you, like me, crave chocolate or sugary snacks, this one is for you. Ditch the sugar-filled snacks and get looking more like a snack yourself by walking it off. Studies have confirmed that walking helps to reduce sugar cravings, possibly because it’s an alternate source of the endorphin release we are craving when we reach for that Snickers bar.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
While no substitute for medication if you need it, evidence shows that walking can lower your blood sugar. If you have diabetes or issues with high blood sugar, consider adding a walk a day to your schedule.
Prevents and Manages Health Conditions
Taking that walk every day can help you manage or keep you from getting:
- Type 2 Diabetes (see “regulates blood sugar levels” above)
- High Blood Pressure
- Arthritis (prevents the disease and reduces pain)
- Heart Disease
- Cancer (one study showed a 14% reduction in breast cancer rates)
Lower Your Risk of Blood Clots
Lower your risk by walking every day. Strengthening calf muscles and improving cardiovascular health both reduce your risk of a blood clot sending you to the emergency room.
Reduces Bone Loss
Putting one foot in front of the other over and over again can stop bone loss for osteoporosis sufferers and can reduce the risk of hip fracture by 40%. I wish my dad’s mom had known about this when she was young enough to make walking a habit. Even with the walker and motorized cart, she was always falling and breaking something or another.
Speeds Up Healing
Walking for 30 to 60 minutes a day speeds up the flow of oxygen in the bloodstream, which improves your body’s ability to heal itself.
and last but not least…
Increases Life Expectancy
Walking it off can literally help you live longer, and have a better quality of life for more of your elder years. Don’t be like my dad’s mom and be tied to a chair for the last decade of your life. Be like my mom’s mom and be able to outpace your granddaughters when you’re in your mid-80s. Your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will thank you for it!
Products to Help You Walk It Off
- Reflective Gear for visibility when walking at night
- Leggings with tummy control and a pocket big enough for your phone
- If it’s legal where you are, this tiny pepper spray is for self-protection, because we should be able to walk whenever we want to!
- These walking shoes are a name brand, affordable, and in basic black and white to match almost anything
A Funny Walk It Off Story
I can’t believe I am sharing this with you, but I have a funny story about a walk around the block that I took on Valentine’s Day when I was about 16. My sister and I were bemoaning not having boyfriends. I was newly single and still pretty heartbroken; she had never had a serious boyfriend yet and wished she had.
With nothing else to do, we decided to walk off our bad mood. The neighborhood we lived in was interesting. It is in a suburban city north of San Diego, CA that has almost 100k residents. Not a small town by any stretch. But, this little neighborhood in the middle of this suburban city was very “country”. Winding roads with no sidewalks or streetlights, large lots, custom homes instead of “ticky-tacky” tract housing, etc.
So, we were walking around the block, and in this weird semi-delirious mood where everything made us laugh. We rounded a corner, and all of a sudden there was a llama in front of us, munching on some plants in someone’s front yard. It was so unexpected. It bleated at us, and we lost it.
I laughed so hard I was crying, and I couldn’t stop. My sister kept imitating the llama’s bleating and making me laugh harder. I kept telling her I needed to pee and to stop, but she kept going, and before I knew it my legs were soaked and my combat boots were… sloshy. That made us laugh even harder, all the way home, and the entire time it took me to wash out my boots.
Help walk off my embarrassment about telling you my llama walk story. I wish I had a pic of the random front yard llama, but that was long before the days when we walked around with mini-computers/cameras in our purses and pockets. Tag @basicbfindsbalance on Instagram or Facebook or send me a picture of the most unusual thing you have snapped a pic of while out on a walk. All pics received will get featured on my website and on Instagram with the hashtag #walkitoff, and I’ll know you read all the way to the end and know way too much about me!
Until Next Week,
Your Favorite Basic B 🚶
Mayo Clinic, May 19, 2021, Staff Article, “Walking: Trim Your Waistline, Improve Your Health”
Harvard Health, August 25, 2022, Staff Article, “5 Surprising Benefits of Walking”
Arthritis Foundation, Not Dated, Staff Article, “12 Benefits of Walking”
Healthline, November 8, 2018, Jane Chertoff, “What Are the Benefits of Walking”
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Did You Know?
I don’t just blog, I am a multi-faceted freelance writer. That means I write newsletters, social media and web content, educational articles, brochures, fliers, and more so business owners can focus on what they do best instead of spending hours creating content. If you have a business that needs content, head over to dee-writes.com.