The health benefits of walking are incredible. Such a simple activity that we humans were designed to do. Check these out:
1. Melts Body Fat
It’s all about cranking up your metabolism. Body moving, muscles working burns calories than sitting on your butt all day. Fat loss will happen when your metabolism revs up. Just don’t use your new walking program to justify shovelling more food in your mouth.
I have made that mistake. I’m an avid runner who would gain weight when training. I would reward myself for all those miles put in with extra helpings – usually ice cream. 2 scoops, please.
2. Helps Heart Health
The cool thing about walking is you can get all the aerobic cardiovascular benefits you get from running and reduce the risk of impact injuries by ten times. Walking builds your heart conditioning, meaning more blood is pumped through your body quicker with fewer beats. Talk about productivity! Walk about 30 minutes a day and drop your risk for cardiovascular disease by 40%.
Or stay sedentary, feel sluggish, and take your chances with heart disease.
3. Manage diabetes
Controlling diabetes can be difficult if you don’t manage diabetes, your declining health and overall enjoyment of life spiral down. Walking helps control your blood sugar by speeding up your metabolism. Again, you’ve got to change your diet and mix in walking to beat this awful disease.
4. Enhances Sex Life
You’re slightly or a lot overweight, you don’t exercise, and you feel sluggish. You feel self-conscious and unattractive. Do you feel sexy?
Now, walk about 30 minutes a day for a week – just one week! Blood is flowing stronger; you’re not so out of breath, just starting to feel better about yourself.
Next, go knock boots with your partner.
5. Saves Time and Money
There is no gym membership, no driving anywhere, no home workout machines, and no special clothing required to take a walk. Just head out the front door right now and move your body. Easy Peazy!
You don’t even need shoes! Walk on the beach or take laps on the park grass barefoot down the sidewalk. You unknowingly took the risk as a kid; why not today?
6. Beats Back Cancer
The risk of cancer increases dramatically with a sedentary lifestyle. The more active you are, the less chance of developing any type of cancer. For example – those who walk 2 miles or more a day have a 60% reduction in dying from cancer than people who walk one mile daily.
So enjoy the fresh air and stretch that 20-minute walk into 30 or 40 minutes for added health benefits of walking.
7. Risk of Stroke Decreases
This is yet another fantastic health benefit of walking. Shoot for at least 30 minutes a day, and studies show your risk of stroke goes down by half.
8. Lowers Risk of Dementia
Losing mental capacity is one of the scariest and most hideous risks of aging. A study conducted by the National Council on Aging back in 1999 found the cognitive thinking ability of people over the age of 60 increased after walking 45 minutes a day. The amazing thing is their pace was a 16-minute mile. That’s shuffling speed!
It doesn’t take much effort to keep your mind sharp as you age. Take a walk first, then do a puzzle.
9. Reduces stress
Regular walking burns off pent up energy just like any other type of exercise. When you sit around or work at tasks all day, you build up excess emotional, mental, and physical energy. A pleasant walk in the park releases all of this stored tension, and you feel great!
I’m an ex long-distance runner who thrived on reaching an endorphin induced “runner’s high.” The cool thing is I can still quickly get this altered state if I walk just a little faster for a little longer. It’s an extra effort to increase my heart rate and breathing but still able to talk with my walking partner. The stress melts away, and there is an afterglow of relaxation that lasts hours after the walk. You can experience this too!
10. Connect With Nature
It doesn’t matter where you live on this planet; as long as you are outside in the open air, rain or snow or sunshine, you can feel part of the magical universe you live within. We all live so much “inside our heads” and miss out on the bigger picture of our life. Walking outside with a focused awareness of the magnificence of your existence is perhaps one of the essential health benefits of walking.
11. Connect With a Friend
We are all born to move through life. There is something extra special about walking with a friend and the deep personal connection it brings. Lost in great conversation, you’ll never notice the minutes click by as you gossip, exchange stories, or solve the world’s problems. Walking, moving, blood pumping while feeling ALIVE with a friend is a simple and profound pleasure of life.
12. Builds Bone Density
Osteoporosis is a huge problem, especially for women as they age into midlife and beyond. Brittle, soft bones lead to all kinds of serious issues, from pinched nerves in your spine to breaking bones from a fall. Low impact walking is perfect for building backbone density. For extra points, add in light strength training exercises.
13. You’ll Live Longer
8000 men were followed in the Honolulu Heart Study, and the researchers discovered that just walking 2 miles a day cut the risk of death by 50%. Not surprising. Not only will you live a longer, healthier life but a more satisfying one too.
The health benefits of walking perhaps are more significant than any activity you can do. You were born to move and specially designed to walk—no wonder the lack of walking leads to so many chronic health problems. So get out there and: Move It! Move It!