Walking is an underrated form of exercise. It’s easy to do, you’ve known how to do it since you were a baby, and chances are you do it every single day. Yet, studies show that most people don’t do it as often as they should. Therefore, in this article, we’ll review 20 benefits of walking in the hopes of motivating you to do it more frequently.
Walking just a little bit extra every day has many advantages.
Studies show that individuals who live in urban areas where walking is often the transportation mode of choice are less likely to be obese. Just 30 to 45 minutes of walking per day, spread throughout the day or done all at once, can lead you on a path to a healthier lifestyle.
Keep reading below to understand 20 benefits of walking every day.
1. Walking Helps To Burn Calories
Perhaps one of the most obvious advantages of walking is that it burns a few extra calories. Burning calories can help you maintain or even lose weight, depending on your walking habits.
The number of calories burned will be determined by speed, distance, slope, and weight.
2. It Reduces The Risk Of Passing On Weight-Gaining Genes
A Harvard Health study determined that walking briskly for just a half hour per day can reduce the likeliness of you passing on the gene that causes one to gain weight.
In a study of 12,000 participants who carried up to 32 “obesity-promoting” genes, the ones who walked 30 minutes a day saw the effectiveness of those genes cut in half.
3. Walking Helps To Keep Your Heart Healthy
Really, any kind of physical activity that gets your heart pumping above its resting pace will help to maintain a healthy heart.
However, a study conducted in 2009 showed advantages for those who walked 30 minutes per day, five days a week. The results of the study concluded that walking can lower your risk of heart disease by almost 20 percent.
4. It Is A Low Impact Activity
Another one of 20 benefits of walking is that it is a low impact activity.
When compared to running, weightlifting and bicycling, an advantage of walking is that it is much more kind to your body.
Even if you have sustained a serious injury to your back or knee, walking is usually possible and sometimes recommended. For example, if you are recovering from a broken leg, the only way to fully heal is to put that leg back to work.
5. Walking Can Make You More Creative
A 2014 study that was completed by Stanford University showed that daily walking can increase your creativity by an average of 60 percent.
The study concludes that walking can allow your mind to wander and opens it up to the flow of ideas. Therefore, by exercising your mind as you walk, you also have the potential to become a better problem solver.
6. Walking Can Help Relieve Anxiety
Destressing might be one of the greatest benefits of walking.
Some say that a 10-minute walk can relieve as much anxiety as a 45-minute gym session.
Walking in a peaceful place, especially if you are walking in nature, also shows to boost your overall mood. Or alternatively, an easy hike can help your brain focus on the surroundings rather than any negativity in your head.
While walking, you can shift your focus to your surroundings or those that you are walking with. As a result, this can help to lift feelings of depression or anxiety you might be experiencing.
7. Walking Is Free
Gym memberships, yoga classes and bicycles can be costly.
One of the important benefits of walking is that it can be done anywhere, anytime, and doesn’t cost you a penny.
No more shelling out tons of money for your overpriced spin or aerobics classes. If you crave the feeling of group mentality, you can easily grab a friend or join a walking group.
8. Walking Helps To Tone Your Muscle
You really don’t need to go to the gym to improve your leg strength.
Another one of the benefits of walking is that you use your legs. If you want to tone your legs, walk up the stairs, take a hike, or walk up a road with a steep incline.
Furthermore, you can throw in a lunge or a squat every now and then during your walk if you are looking to further tone your legs muscles.
9. It Helps To Raise Your Energy Levels
A 2017 study showed that walking can be just as effective in raising your energy levels, if not more so, than drinking a cup of coffee.
The study tested the energy levels of 18 sleep-deprived young women in college. These tests were completed after the women walked upstairs and after they consumed 50 mg of caffeine.
The results showed that walking upstairs was more effective in raising energy levels than drinking 50 mg of caffeine.
10. Walking Eases Joint Pain And Prevents Arthritis
Walking has been known to strengthen the muscles around your joints and help to keep your joints moving smoothly.
If you just walk five to six miles per week – you can spread it out over all seven days – you can lower your risk of developing arthritis as you age.
11. It Helps To Lower Blood Sugar
Walking, particularly after a meal, can help your body process sugars like glucose, a sugar found in your bloodstream.
When your heart starts beating faster, your muscles use glucose to function. Therefore, walking can help lower your blood sugar while making the insulin in your body more functional.
12. Walking Helps To Curb A Sweet Tooth
In addition to helping to lower your blood sugar, another one of the benefits of walking is that it can also help to put your sweet cravings to rest.
Reuters Health published an article in 2017 that had the results of a small study conducted at Ruhr University in Germany.
The study showed that participants who walked briskly on a treadmill had less interest in sugary snacks 15 minutes after their exercise than those who sat still.
13. It Can Help To Prevent Alzheimer’s
In 2019, the Harvard Aging Brain Study at Massachusetts General Hospital released some findings for normal to at-risk individuals for cogitative decline.
The study found that individuals walking around 8,900 steps per day, saw “beneficial effects.”
What does this mean? Daily physical exercise – even walking – can reduce the buildup of degenerative proteins in your brain.
Furthermore, it is interesting to note that the value of 8,900 steps per day is just under 10,000, which is the value that many individuals who track their steps aim to achieve each day.
14. Walking Can Help To Improve Your Memory
Similarly to how walking can help to prevent memory loss as you age, another one of the benefits of walking is it can help to improve your memory now.
A study conducted in Kyoto, Japan found that after three months of regular walking, both men and women had an overall better cognitive function.
Their memory improved, they were more attentive and had a greater ability to multitask.
15. It Can Promote A Longer And Healthier Life
There have been several studies throughout the years that show the benefits of walking include promoting a longer and healthier life.
Frequently walking can lower your chances of illnesses like cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and other diseases.
16. Walking May Decrease The Risk Of Breast Cancer
A Harvard study conducted over 17 years and included 74,000 postmenopausal women.
The results concluded that women who walked at least one hour every week had a 14% lower risk of developing breast cancer.
The longer and more strenuous the women walked, the lower their risk dropped.
17. It Can Help You Be More Social
There’s no telling what will happen every time you leave your house.
You might find a new friend along your walking route or join a group of people you often see walking in your neighborhood.
Furthermore, walking with a close friend or family member can help to build and improve the relationships that you already have.
An hour-long walk with your partner or friend can be an intimate experience or a chance to have some fun together.
18. Walking Helps Regulate Hormones
Regular moderate to vigorous walking can regulate hormones like insulin, estrogen, testosterone, and adiponectin (an anti-inflammatory linked to regulating metabolism).
These hormones are important throughout your life but especially as you age. For example, testosterone helps to protect your muscle mass as you get older.
19. It Helps Protect You Against The Cold And Flu
Studies show that one of the benefits of regularly walking is that it strengthens your immune system.
A study of 1,000 men and women showed that walking for at least 20 minutes a day, five days a week boosted their immune system.
Furthermore, it boosted their immune system to the point where they took almost half as many sick days as those who walked once a week or less.
20. Walking Helps You Sleep Better
Another one of the benefits of walking daily is that it can help you get a better night’s sleep.
A study conducted on individuals with chronic insomnia showed that those who walked at a moderate pace every day had an easier time falling asleep.
Furthermore, the study showed those individuals also had an easier time staying asleep.
This is likely due to the fact that walking has been shown to also improve your mood and attention span while decreasing stress and anxiety, as previously mentioned.
The realization that there are 86,400 seconds each day. What are you doing today, so that tomorrow you are a step closer to where you want to be? If not now, then when?
eightysixfourhundred, make them count
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