We know exercise is inherently good for us. But you don’t have to be a professional bodybuilder or Olympic athlete to reap the benefits of exercise. According to the U.S. Department of Health, we should target 150 minutes of moderate-intensity weekly workouts. Fortunately, this includes walking!
Cardiovascular activities like walking can provide a myriad of health benefits. A few of the most impressive include:
Lose weight – Walking burns calories, which can help you lose or maintain weight. How fast, far, and often you walk will determine how many calories you burn.
Reduce stress – By releasing endorphins and lowering cortisol, walking can elevate your mood while reducing stress and anxiety.
Soothe joint pain – Cartilage in the body doesn’t receive blood without movement. Walking compresses cartilage helping it fill with oxygen and nutrients to support joint health.
Lower blood sugar – A few studies have shown that walking after eating can lower blood sugar and reduce spikes.
Improve circulation – Walking lowers blood pressure, which helps the heart pump more effectively.
Strengthen the heart – With regular exercise like walking, the risk of coronary heart disease can drop up to 19%.
Boost immune system – Regular exercise may reduce the likelihood of catching the flu or a cold and lessen symptoms if you do become sick.
While we may be aware of the health benefits of walking, there are a few other things to gain that may make regular walks even more appealing.
Curb cravings – A University of Exeter study found that a 15-minute walk can curb your cravings for certain sweets such as chocolate.
Improve sleep – If you have trouble sleeping and feel tired most days, walking an hour each morning can relieve insomnia symptoms.
Think creatively – A study found that people were better able to come up with new ideas while walking than individuals who were sitting.
Regardless of your age or level of fitness, regular walks can fulfill your daily recommended exercise needs. To begin, all you need is a comfortable and supportive pair of walking shoes and breathable clothes… and maybe a good friend to join you!