Walking For Health: 14 Biggest Benefits of Walking
It might not be your top priority when you wake up to move around. Get out and start walking each day, during your commute to/from work or just strolling around your neighbourhood, as it is good for your health.
Taking part in this activity improves or maintains your health in general. You can boost your endurance and strength in as little as 30 minutes daily, while also increasing your cardiovascular fitness routine, building bone density, and reducing fat deposits. Additionally, it reduces your chances of acquiring diseases like cardiovascular disorders, diabetes type 2, bone fragility, and certain types of cancer.
There is no set time for walking and it can be done at any time of day. Taking a walk does not have the same risks as some more strenuous exercises. This type of exercise is also a suitable option for overweight people, seniors, or people who have not exercised recently.
You can easily fit walking into your daily routine and it’s free. It requires no special training or equipment. Just wear sturdy shoes to get started.
Take a look at some of the health benefits of walking.
14 Health benefits of walking
Walking involves carrying your weight. We call this weight-bearing. Just by walking, even for half an hour, you’ll accomplish so much. This is like watching television every day for that length of time.
#1 Improve circulation
A good walking workout can increase your circulation, improve your flexibility and strengthen your muscles. This can reduce the chance of clogged arteries and improve blood flow. The increased circulation helps to reduce the risk of chronic diseases related to a deficiency in circulation, such as heart disease, arthritis, back pain and even cancer.
Walking is one of the best forms of exercise for building muscle strength and mass as it provides resistance to gravity whatever age and fitness level you are in.
#2 Increase energy
Walking is an excellent way to increase your energy levels. Walking for about 30 minutes every day will give you a burst of energy throughout the rest of the day.
This is why people begin walking as a way to lose weight or simply as a way to increase their levels of exercise and activity level. The exercise helps clear your mind and keep you focused on what you are doing, which helps reduce stress levels and overall fatigue during the day.
#3 Live a longer, healthier life
Walking can help you live longer than you would have otherwise.
Studies show that people who walk regularly have lower rates of coronary heart disease, preventable cancers and other deadly conditions. However, if you are not a walker and are physically inactive, you could be at risk of developing these life-threatening diseases.
Regular physical activity can increase your longevity by ensuring that your muscles stay fit, joints stay lubricated and blood circulation remains flowing through your body. A daily walk or jog can also help protect against lifestyle diseases such as osteoporosis and diabetes.
#4 Lose weight
Exercise can help you lose weight. If you’re overweight, one of the best things you can do is to increase your physical activity as much as possible. Approximately half of the people who are overweight also suffer from high blood pressure and high glucose levels.
High blood pressure and diabetes are often linked to many other health problems including heart disease, stroke and chronic fatigue.
Physical activity not only helps strengthen muscles and bones but also burns calories that can help you achieve a healthy weight. Many obese individuals who begin walking as part of an exercise routine to improve their overall health often find that the positive results obtained in various aspects of their life make them stick with it. Exercise has been proven to help reduce inflammation while protecting arteries from damage.
#5 Getting better sleep
Walking may improve your sleep because it helps you to relax. A study found that people who walked before bedtime slept longer than those who didn’t. So keep walking to get a good night’s sleep!
#6 Improve brain performance
A study on elderly adults shows that those who walked regularly have better brain function and memory than their inactive counterparts. The elderly adults who exercised regularly had more intact cognitive abilities than their inactive counterparts.
It is important to note that this does not mean you should force yourself to engage in exhaustive exercises, but rather be moderate to begin with, such as brisk walking, and increase this activity gradually over time if it feels right for you.
#7 Improve your breathing
Walking helps improve your respiratory system. When you take a walk, you will inhale more fresh air which will help your lungs to become stronger and help your body to be healthier.
You’ll also feel better and have a clear head after you finish your walk because the exercise will have effectively aerated your body.
#8 Lowers cholesterol levels
One of the most recognized benefits of walking is its ability to lower cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a type of fat that circulates through the body and plays an important role in the production and transmission of nerve impulses.
Evidence suggests that people who exercise regularly have lower levels of total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol than those who don’t exercise. One study in particular, which followed middle-aged women for seven years, found that those who walked or jogged at least five times a week had total cholesterol levels that were about 7 percent lower than those who didn’t exercise.
#9 Improves bone health
Another benefit of walking is its ability to improve bone health. Bones are formed when cells called osteoblasts to deposit calcium and phosphate minerals into them; they then harden into solid, bony structures. Osteoblasts are not limited to the bone; they also form connective tissue and cartilage.
Walking has been shown to preserve bone mass throughout your lifetime, and improve osteoporosis (a condition that causes bones to become weak and porous).
In one study, pregnant women attending high-risk obstetric clinics were instructed to walk at least 10,000 steps a day. Researchers found that the women were more likely to maintain good bone health in their adult years if they had walked that many steps during pregnancy.
In another study of postmenopausal women, those who walked briskly were more likely than other women in their age group to have strong skeletal systems — a key factor in promoting healthy bones as we age (osteopenia).
One 2009 study found that a walking program of 30 minutes three times a week after menopause reduced the risk of fractures by 28 percent among postmenopausal women 65 or older.
#10 Prevent and treat chronic diseases
Walking may help prevent and treat certain conditions in your body. For instance, walking for 30 minutes a day 5 days a week has been shown to reduce the risk of osteoporosis – especially among older adults and postmenopausal women.
As you age, you are more likely to experience chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, breast cancer, colorectal cancer (the second most common type of cancer in both men and women), ovarian cancer and sleep apnea. Walking may help improve these conditions because it increases muscle mass, strength and flexibility in some or all of these areas. Get moving!
#11 Purify your body
Walking is an excellent opportunity for detoxification in that it helps remove toxins from our bodies. Toxins can build up throughout our days when we work, go about our daily activities, eat, drink and sleep-all which increase toxins in both water sources but also in the air we breathe – from trees or exhaust fumes from cars driving by us on the road or over pollution from factories nearby. Walking triggers our immune system to release chemicals that aid in removing these toxins.
#12 Stress reduction
If you suffer from stress regularly, walking can help you cope. A study conducted found that people who took modest exercise breaks (for example, one hour a day of walking) experienced a substantial reduction in stress levels compared with those who took no breaks at all.
90 minutes of daily walking could significantly boost heart rate variability and improve physical and mental health. It also shows that if you walk in nature every day, you will develop an increased capacity to appreciate nature and elevate your mood as well.
#13 Increase your confidence
A walking routine has been shown to boost self-esteem and can be a great exercise to get out of the house. This is a great way to get some fresh air and find inspiration in nature, along with an opportunity to chat with others and form some sort of walking group. A bonus is that it’s also a great activity for helping you meet new people while offering you the chance to exercise together!
#14 Slow down your ageing
We’re all getting older, so we can all benefit from slowing our biological clocks daily. If you want to keep your body functioning at its peak, it’s a good idea to make walking a habit. By making small changes over time to your lifestyle, you can help slow down the ageing process and reduce your risk for diseases like cancer and heart disease.
In today’s world, you don’t have to be a super athlete to be fit. You just have to get out there 20 or 30 minutes every day. The best way is outdoors. There are great opportunities everywhere.