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Your doctor might give you a prescription for walking when you have your next check-up. According to multiple studies, this simple activity is the closest thing that we have to a wonder drug.

Getting active is a great way to improve your health, and walking is one of the most common forms of physical activity that people can do. Aside from being beneficial for your health, walking can also help lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Especially for people who deal with any challenges that might make it difficult to do more strenuous exercises, walking is a simple, low-impact activity that can make a big impact on your health and fitness. Read on for some surprising benefits of incorporating regular walks into your routine.

  1. Combats Genes that Contribute to Body Weight

A study conducted by Harvard researchers revealed that walking for an hour a day can help counteract the effects of certain genes that promote weight gain. The researchers looked at over 12,000 participants and discovered that those who walked for an hour a day lost about half of the effects of their weight-promoting genes. If you struggle with weight gain linked to your genetics, walking might be a strategy to help you maintain a healthier weight.

  1. Reduces Sweet Cravings

A pair of studies also revealed that walking for 15 minutes a day can help people reduce their cravings for chocolate and decrease their intake of sweets. A third study also revealed that regular exercise can help people cut down on their sugary snacks. If sugary snacks are your go-to, consider adding a walk to your daily routine, and you might see those cravings diminish.

  1. Reduces Breast Cancer Risk

Aside from being beneficial for your overall health, walking can also help lower your risk of breast cancer. A study conducted by the American Cancer Society revealed that regular walking can reduce the risk of getting breast cancer by 14%. The study also noted that this type of exercise can protect women from breast cancer even if they have certain risk factors such as being overweight or taking estrogen supplements. Walking won’t erase your chances of getting breast cancer, but it could reduce them.

  1. Helps Joint Pain

Numerous studies have revealed that walking can help lower the pain levels caused by arthritis. It can also help prevent the development of this condition in the first place. Aside from being beneficial for your health, walking can also help protect your joints from getting damaged. Other exercises, like running, can cause stress on your joints. Walking on the other hand is a gentle way to strengthen your joints.

  1. Increases Immune Function

Aside from being beneficial for your health, walking can also help protect you from getting sick during the flu and cold season. A study conducted on over 1,000 participants revealed that those who walked for 20 minutes a day had a 43% lower chance of getting sick than those who didn’t exercise at all.