Social media has become a #fitspo free-for-all. You can tailor Instagram to become your very own digital personal trainer, join a sweat-focused Facebook group, or take to Twitter for the most relatable gym memes around. But when researchers combed tweets about physical activity from 481,146 users, one sweat modality stood out from the rest: good, old fashioned walking.
The survey, as reported in the journal BMJ Open Sport & Medicine Exercise, examined over one million tweets about physical activities that were geotagged in the United States between April 2015 and March 2016. After sorting out irrelevant terms (like, “The Walking Dead,” lol), the study authors identified that the top exercise terms were “walk,” “dance,” “golf,” “workout,” “run,” “pool,” “hike,” “yoga,” “swim,” and “bowl.” The volume of each keyword varied based on gender (more women tweeted about yoga than men, for example) and geographical region (more people broadcasted their hiking adventures out West). But, as a good reminder that your workouts don’t have to be expensive or fancy, walking proved to be the buzziest term overall.
The results make sense. First, walking has a low barrier to entry—you just need shoes, a bit of time, and somewhere to go. According to the folks at Harvard Health (who recommend logging two to four miles per day—bonus points if you take the stairs instead of the elevator), “You don’t need any special equipment to walk in the course of your daily life. Supportive street shoes will suffice, but if you prefer, you can change into walking shoes for your commute or lunchtime stroll. And since you don’t need to push yourself enough to sweat, you don’t need special clothing; just stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and dry in the rain.”
And even though walking is incredibly simple (I mean, you literally learn how to do it as a toddler), it comes with a whole array of health benefits. According to the Mayo Clinic, “brisk walking” can help prevent heart disease, strengthen your bones and muscles, boost your mood, and even help your balance. “Walking in general is a great aerobic exercise that burns calories, strengthens your cardiovascular endurance, and improves your mental health and wellness,” John Thornhill, a master trainer at Aaptiv, previously told Well+Good. “It’s a great cardio addition to a healthy fitness routine.”
Sounds like a literal walk in the park. (And if you didn’t tweet about it, did it really happen?)
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