The Benefits of Walking
“Our first steps are among the most celebrated milestones of our youth. But for some reason, as we age, walking gets taken for granted. That’s puzzling, since walking is one of the most comprehensive, and safest, fitness routines available. All you need is a good pair of walking shoes and socks, and you are good to go.” – Brion O’Connor
Brion O’Connor has it right. Walking is a great activity because of its simplicity!
And, of course, there are a ton of other benefits. Here are ten that doctors often share when suggesting walking as a form of physical activity.
- Walking is a mood booster: Who couldn’t use a way to improve your mood – especially after a bad day or when you’re feeling a bit frustrated? Walking can do that for you. Walking releases endorphins, which science has proven improves your mood – so lace up those shoes and walk.
- Walking burns calories and can help you lose or maintain weight: People often want to find a mode of exercise that burns calories and can help them lose or maintain their weight – and walking can do that. Your current weight, the duration of your walk, and the speed at which you walk will all help to determine how many calories you burn, but the most important thing is to just get started.
- Walking can reduce your risk for many diseases: Did you know that studies have shown that walking can reduce your risk for many diseases? Research has shown that your risk for heart disease, a stroke, Type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers are amongst those included.
- Walking can boost your creativity: If you are in need of some creativity – but just aren’t feeling it at the moment – walking might be the trick to help. Studies have shown it awakens your creative ability, and your creative output increases on average by 60%.
- Walking boosts your immunity: Harvard University shared that in a study of 1000 men and women, those who walked for at least 20 minutes per day, 5 days per week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who didn’t. Additionally, if they did get sick, it was for fewer days total than those who did not walk.
- Walking can improve your sleep quality: If you want to sleep better at night, a walk can help. Walking has been shown to boost the effects of natural sleep hormones, such as melatonin – meaning you get better rest.
- Walking can help you establish good habits: Good habits build other good habits. So, with that in mind, if you create a walking habit, you might also find that other good habits naturally follow.
- Walking improves your memory: In another Harvard study, they found that walking improves your memory. Researchers likened walking to “medicine for your brain” and found that it improves your brain’s health and thinking skills.
- Walking gives you energy: Feeling a little sluggish? Go for a walk. Walking increases the oxygen flow throughout your body, along with releasing cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine – which all elevate energy levels.
- Walking can extend your life expectancy: It’s no surprise that if walking can do all of the things above, that you’ll find it can extend your life expectancy. One study from the United Kingdom showed that fast walkers may extend their life by as much as 15 years.
If you’re thinking of starting a walking regimen – spring is the perfect time to get it going! Soon you’ll be reaping some of the many benefits that this easy form of exercise gives you – physically, mentally, and emotionally.