One of the healthiest activities you can engage in is walking. Putting one foot in front of the other has been shown to improve everything from blood pressure to weight management to mood. It's also one of the simplest workouts to complete because it only requires a pair of shoes and some open space.
You're on the right track if you're walking for fitness, commuting to work, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. All that's left now is to make it a habit. To that aim, here are ten compelling reasons to take a daily stroll.
IT ESTABLISHES A ROUTINE
Simply turning up is one of the most difficult components of working out. Getting out the door can be difficult at first, but once you have a few consistent workouts under your belt, they will become second nature. According to studies, it takes 66 days to create a habit. Taking a walk every morning or after dinner will put you on the road to long-term success.
IT LOWERS BLOOD PRESSURE AND CHOLESTEROL
Since high blood pressure is linked to dangerous illnesses such as stroke and heart disease, it's important to maintain your blood flowing freely. Fortunately, walking has been shown to be an effective method of lowering blood pressure. A six-year study of walkers and runners found that both activities lower the risk of heart disease, but moderate-intensity walking (approximately three miles per hour) had a bigger impact on blood pressure and cholesterol.
IT’S GOOD FOR YOUR BONES
Exercises that require you to bear weight are beneficial to your bones. Lifting weights, doing bodyweight workouts, and even standing on your own two feet are all examples of this. Bone density normally declines as you become older, making fall-related injuries more severe and perhaps leading to osteoporosis. Walking, fortunately, can assist. Walking has been shown in studies to help prevent bone loss in the hip joint. Walking can also cut your chances of getting a hip fracture in half.
IT BOOSTS YOUR MOOD
You're not alone if you've ever discovered that going for a walk makes you feel better. Even without other smile-inducing conditions like sunshine, pleasant music, or strolling with a conversation partner, an Iowa State University study revealed that walking for just 12 minutes was enough to raise one's mood. When you're feeling depressed or anxious, go for a 12-minute stroll and observe how your mood improves.
IT GIVES YOU ENERGY
Walking, rather than a cup of coffee, can help you get through an afternoon slump. A study conducted at the University of Georgia in Athens discovered that doing a 10-minute low-intensity walk left sleep-deprived volunteers feeling more invigorated than taking 50mg of coffee. When you feel tired, get up and stretch your legs by going for a walk - even better if you can do it outside.
IT GETS YOU OUTDOORS
Spending time outside has been linked to a variety of health advantages, including stress reduction, improved concentration, and improved happiness. People are even known to exercise more vigorously while they are outside, walking quicker than they do when they are indoors. Take a daily walk in your neighborhood or on your favorite route to absorb the benefits of nature.
IT PROMOTES WEIGHT
CONTROL AND FAT LOSS
Although walking may not burn as many calories as jogging or other more intense sports, research suggest that it is a safe and effective approach to lose weight and keep it off. Experts recommend walking for at least 150 minutes every week to maintain your weight. Of course, the more activity the better when it comes to weight loss. If you can, increase the number of minutes you walk, or incorporate walking into an exercise routine that also includes high-intensity cardio and weight training.
IT REDUCES STRESS
The world is a stressful place, what with job, social obligations, and current events. One simple solution is to chase down the "runner's high." Alternatively, the walker's high. Endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that reduce anxiety and tension and increase emotions of well-being, are released when you exercise. According to one study, an hour of moderate activity such as walking lowered the incidence of depression by 26%.
IT HELPS YOU THINK MORE CLEARLY AND CREATIVELY
Take a walk if you need to solve a problem or come up with new ideas. According to a Stanford study, creative thinking improves during walking and quickly afterward. A longer-term association was discovered in an Austrian study, which found that those who are physically active on a daily basis had stronger creative cognition than those who are not.
IT PROMOTES A LONGER LIFE
A long-term study of nearly 300,000 people found that older adults who have exercised regularly since youth have a 36 percent lower risk of dying from any cause than those who do not. This information alone should motivate you to get out and walk more. If you can, start when you're young and keep moving as you get older.
There's some good news for individuals who haven't caught the exercise bug yet. The researchers discovered that persons who began exercising in their 40s and 50s received similar longevity advantages, with a 35 percent reduction in their risk of dying.
THE BOTTOM LINE
As you can see, there are numerous reasons to step out the door for a daily stroll. Even if it's only for 5 or 10 minutes, it all adds up to physical, emotional, and mental benefits that will enhance your long-term health and fitness.