Walking My Way to Health

One Mom’s Efforts to Keep Colds and Flu at Bay through Daily Walks

By Mary Shoemaker February 21, 2020

It seems as though everywhere I turn, someone new is sick. Last week, my son’s teacher sent home an urgent request for donations of tissues and Lysol wipes. Yesterday, two of my meetings got canceled -- one because the person I was supposed to meet with was sick and one because, yup, her kid was sick. And high school and college sports games across the country are being postponed because they don’t have enough healthy players.

Sound familiar? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest estimates, up to 31 million people in the United States have gotten the flu this year. And flu season hasn’t yet hit its peak.

But this year, I’m determined to stay healthy. My secret weapon? Daily walks.

It might sound too good to be true, but there is reliable research that walking can help protect you during cold and flu season by boosting your immune system and improving your ability to fend off viruses and bacteria. One study showed people who walk at least 20 minutes a day, 5 days a week, have 43 percent fewer sick days than those who did not. And for those who did get sick, the severity of the illness and symptoms were reduced.

And don’t think running is better just because you’re moving faster or going further. The physical stress of a more intense workout may have the opposite effect, leaving you vulnerable to infection.

The moral of the story? Regular walks can keep you healthier and help prevent cold and flu. So grab your sneakers and start walking!

Ready to walk your way to better health? Join the 99 Walks challenge, walk 33 miles (or set your own goal) and earn a gorgeous bracelet when you crush your goal. You’ll be healthier, happier, and glad you did! Try your first two weeks free!