10 Underrated Benefits of Walking

10 health benefits of walking

Get Excited About Walking!...


It isn’t exactly headlining news to hear that regular physical exercise offers a multitude of benefits. But, you don’t have to have a gym membership or run a marathon to reap the rewards of moving your body. A simple daily walk offers a long list of benefits, not just for your physical health but your mental health too.


If you're wondering if it's worth it to get off the sofa and go for an evening walk after dinner, the answer is yes. There are many benefits, but here's a round-up of the most important ones.

Can Walking REALLY Do All of This?...


When we talk about the benefits of exercise, we often think of aerobic and cardio-type exercises that really get your blood pumping and boost your heart rate. Many don't realize that you don't have to engage in high-impact cardo to reap all of those benefits.


Maybe you’ve hesitated to commit to daily exercise because you’re living with an injury or mobility issues that make running, jumping, or high-impact exercises difficult, or frankly, impossible. Many also shy away simply because they're at a level of physical fitness where these activities are too strenuous, perhaps to the point of being dangerous.


Here’s the thing – you don’t have to hurt or strain yourself to benefit from exercise. No matter where you’re starting from, if you can put one foot in front of the other, even for a few steps, simply walking as a form of exercise offers tremendous advantages.


There have been systemic reviews of meta-analyses that have illustrated the many benefits of walking on an individual’s physical and mental well-being. This applies to people of all fitness levels and ages.


Scientific research and studies tell us that walking as a form of exercise offers benefits ranging from lowering blood pressure and assisting in weight loss to easing mental fatigue and improving your complexion.


To sweeten the deal even more, studies show that both short spurts of walking and long periods of walking are beneficial, with optimal results being achieved by walking at a steady pace for at least thirty minutes, five times a week.


Are you ready to learn more about the health benefits of walking? Here are 10 of the best reasons to lace up your shoes and take a stroll

10 Underestimated Health Benefits of Walking

  1. Improved Sleep: Walking is excellent for stress reduction, and going for a walk during the day helps to set your natural circadian rhythm. These are two of the main reasons going for a daily walk can help you sleep better and banish those minor bouts of insomnia.

  2. Lessens the Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression: Studies show that walking regularly is beneficial for relieving mild symptoms of anxiety. Walking can help improve your mood, release feel-good brain chemicals, and even help you feel a greater sense of belonging. Still, if you’re dealing with recurring or chronic anxiety or depression, it’s extremely important to speak with your doctor about your symptoms.

  3. A Glowing Complexion: Walking supports healthy blood flow, which is key to healthy skin. Walking helps the body deliver vital oxygen to your skin cells and carry away toxins. This results in healthier skin cells and a gorgeous glow.

  4. Greater Life Satisfaction: Even a ten-minute walk triggers the release of endorphins and dopamine, both of which are neurotransmitters that have positive effects on how we perceive our current level of happiness and life satisfaction. It’s estimated that for every ten minutes you walk, you get a surge in these neurotransmitters.

  5. Live Longer: With all this newfound life satisfaction, you will want to enjoy as much of that life as possible. Middle-aged individuals who walk regularly are more than 30% less likely to die in the next eight years compared to their sedentary counterparts.

  6. Improved Muscular Development: Walking is great for increasing muscular strength and endurance. Going for a brisk 50-minute walk three times a week has been shown to increase lower muscular strength and endurance in elderly participants, proving that no matter what your age, walking is good for you.

  7. Improved Flexibility: Walking increases your flexibility, especially lower body flexibility. No matter what your age, flexibility is key for preventing accidents and injuries.
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  8. Reduces the Risk of Obesity: Brisk walking, especially when combined with dietary measures, can help you lose weight faster than just dietary approaches alone. Studies show that individuals who have lost weight or are at their ideal weight are better able to achieve weight maintenance when they include regular exercise, such as walking, in their daily routines.

  9. Reduces the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease: Something as simple as taking a thirty-minute walk each day can significantly reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease and slash your risk of experiencing a stroke by more than 30%.

  10. Help Reduce or Reverse Diabetes: Practically any type of exercise is important in reducing the risk of or controlling diabetes. The benefits really kick in at walking 45 minutes per day, but you don't have to get in those 45 minutes all at once. Going on three 15-minute walks has shown to be equally, if not more, effective than a single long walk.

How Much Should You Walk Each Day?


The ideal amount of walking that you should be doing daily or weekly depends highly on the individual. However, the minimum about of walking you should be doing to reap the benefits is the equivalent of thirty minutes, five times a week. Keep in mind that this can be broken down into shorter walks each day.

If you want to achieve specific health goals, such as losing weight, reducing blood sugar, or preventing cardiovascular disease, you might want to amp up the number of steps you take each day.

You can set a daily goal for the number of steps you take, but know that this isn’t always a good indicator of the health value of your walks. On average, we walk about 1.5-2 miles per day, just taking care of life. What’s really important is that you participate in 15-30 minutes of intentional walking once or twice a day, for at least five days a week.

Walk Your Way to Healthier, Happier Life Today


It’s always wonderful to learn that something so simple and natural as walking is hugely beneficial to our health. Whether you walk around the track in the gym or take an evening walk after dinner to enjoy the neighborhood wildlife, simply getting out there and walking can enhance your life in so many wonderful ways.  




Resources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4453623/#:~:text=Systematic%20reviews%20and%20meta%2Danalyses,and%20cardiovascular%20disease%20risk%20prevention.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3064872/

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/walking/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpubh.2021.829367/full

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/walking/faq-20058345#:~:text=Physical%20activity%2C%20such%20as%20walking,more%20calories%20you'll%20burn.

https://diabetesjournals.org/care/article/36/10/3262/30770/Three-15-min-Bouts-of-Moderate-Postmeal-Walking

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/