What if we told you that something you do on a daily basis has the potential to change your life and the way you feel just by putting a little bit more time and effort into it? Well, that thing we’re talking about is walking! Ever since we were able to at a young age, walking has given us the ability to get from point A to point B. In these earlier years of our lives, we used to run, walk to our friends’ houses, play, and love being on our feet.
As we get older, many of our jobs now require sitting for long periods of the day. We’ll often commute to work via transit or by our cars while sitting down, and then spend another 8 hours or more sitting in front of a computer at our desk with very few breaks in between. If you’re not making daily walks or movement a priority in your life right now, I’m sure you may be feeling the impact in one way or another.
It’s April, and in so many parts of North America the weather is starting to get warmer and the days are getting longer. If you’re starting to awaken from a bit of a winter slump, the best way you can take advantage of a warmer seasonal transition is by getting outside and going for a stroll.
After reading this blog post, we are almost certain that you will be inspired to not only walk more but feel motivated by all of the amazing benefits moving your body provides.
Here are just some of the physical, mental, and emotional benefits that a daily walk can give you:
1. Better mood and improved mental health:
At one point or another, we all face days where we feel sluggish, lack motivation, or just simply feel down and out. One of the easiest ways to help yourself feel better is by going on a walk. In fact, multiple studies have shown that even short walks (between 10-15 minutes long) can help you return to a more calm and relaxed state. Consistently walking has also been proven to help decrease anxiety and protect the body from the harmful effects stress has on our mental health. Whether you choose to walk alone or with a loved one, getting outside and moving at a pace that feels good can help you ultimately feel happier and calmer overall.
2. Improved circulation
Do you deal with poor circulation? Especially in your legs and lower body? Some of the telltale signs of poor circulation include muscles that hurt or feel weak when you move, numbness, the sensation of pins and needles, and bulging veins. Specialists recommend that one of the best ways to improve circulation is by going on a brisk walk or even breaking up sitting patterns throughout the day by taking five-minute walking breaks. Walking is a low-impact way to get the blood flowing again because it helps to lower blood pressure and increase muscle contraction in your legs and lower body.
3. Weight loss
When people think of exercising for weight loss, many believe that the higher the intensity the better results they will see. While this kind of movement can definitely help to shrink your waistline, walking is one of the most underrated ways you can stay fit and lose weight. A brisk walk for 30 minutes to 1 hour per day in combination with a healthy lifestyle can result in weight loss. Specifically, one study from the American Journal of Sports Med shows that 11 moderate-sized women lost 10% of their body weight after just 6 months of brisk walking, proving that walking is indeed an effective way to lose weight.
4. Supported bones and joints
Building and maintaining strong bones is extremely important, especially as you get older. When we age, our risk for osteoporosis as well as other bone and muscle conditions increases. Walking is an amazing way to support your bones and joints and should be done at any age. Our bones are living tissue, meaning that the tissue is constantly being replaced when they die. Exercising regularly allows the body and bones to adapt to the forces being placed upon them, which in return, makes them stronger and denser. Walking also improves balance and coordination which is especially important as we get older. This will prevent falls which can result in broken bones for those who are elderly.
5. Longer life
If you’ve already made it to this point in the article, I’m sure you have a good understanding of the many benefits walking provides for our overall health and wellbeing. It’s really no surprise then that in return, walking can help us live longer lives. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that walking at a moderate pace was associated with a 20% reduced risk of mortality from health conditions.
One tip we suggest for getting the maximum benefits out of your walks is to pick up the pace. Many studies have found that fast-paced walkers reap better health benefits than slower-paced walkers. For a challenge, you can also try walking on an incline by going on hikes, taking the stairs, or walking up hills.
6. Immune system protection
There are many natural ways to boost the immune system, from eating more fruits and veggies, to taking supplements, and even walking! Moving your body and exercising, including walking, actually helps to increase white blood cells. White blood cells are part of the body’s immune system and help to body fight off diseases and infections. This is especially important to keep in mind during cold and flu season. A study from the World Journal of Experimental Medicine took a group of 800 young adults and found that even five minutes of walking per day increased white blood cell counts significantly!
7. Increased cardiovascular and lung fitness
A brisk walk should get your heart pumping, blood flowing, and lungs expanding. When done consistently, this act in itself can actually reduce your chances of cardiovascular disease and stroke, which is amazing! Walks help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, strengthen your lungs, improve circulation, and so much more. When you start to make walking a part of your lifestyle, your body will reap the rewards and you’ll feel so much better all around.
Sometimes we let life get in the way of carving out time for ourselves to do good for our bodies. All of us are busy in our own ways, but if we make something a priority, we’ll find the time for it. After reading through these 7 awesome benefits of walking, we hope you feel inspired to carve out some more time to get your steps in and your blood pumping. Walking is one of the most globally accessible forms of exercise because we can really do it anywhere, for free! Take advantage of the amazing body you were given by going on more walks, and just watch how your life transforms for the better.