Walking is a low-impact form of exercise that is often overlooked yet offers many health benefits to people of all ages and fitness levels.
It’s easy to fit into your day; and even just walking 30 minutes a day can greatly improve the overall health and wellbeing of your body.
1. Improves Circulation
Get moving and get the blood pumping! Walking at any pace causes the muscles in your legs to contract and relax, a movement that squeezes around large veins encouraging healthy circulation especially in areas of the body where flow may be more stagnant.
2. Support your Joints
Because walking is a low-impact form of exercise, less stress is placed on your weight-bearing joints, especially in your knees and hips. Not only that, but walking can actively help protect the joints by strengthening muscles and by helping the cartilage that cushions joints to stay healthy.
3. Lower Blood Sugar
Over time, high blood sugar (glucose) levels can permanently wear away at your pancreas’s ability to make insulin and can damage blood vessels in your body which can cause long-term, serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney problems.
Walking, especially after meals, can help your muscles use more of your body’s glucose therefore lowering your blood sugar levels.
4. Burn Calories
Even adding 30 minutes of brisk walking to your day can help you burn about 150 more calories a day. And the longer (and faster) you walk, the more you can burn.
5. Reduce Risk of Chronic Illness
Walking is an easy way to prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers.1 It can also help you manage symptoms if you already suffer from illness.
6. Improve Your Energy
When you’re tired, going for a walk may be more effective in improving your energy than grabbing a cup of coffee. Walking helps you feel more awake by increasing oxygen flow and hormones like cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine that elevate energy levels.2
7. Improve Mental Health
Walking also releases endorphins, a chemical in our brain that can help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression and improve your overall mood. Even in the colder months, walking, especially outside, can help you fight off seasonal affective disorder.
8. Improve Sleep
Catch some more ZZZs with the help of a daily walk. A good night’s sleep is vital for your body to function well but according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about one-third of American adults do not get the recommended amount of sleep every night.
Researchers have found that people who walked regularly fell asleep more quickly, slept longer, and had better quality sleep than those who did more vigorous exercise.3
9. Improve Creativity
Nothing can get you out of a creative rut like a nice walk. Just ask powerhouses like Nikola Tesla, Ernest Hemingway, and Steve Jobs who all believed the act of walking to help with the flow of ideas.<sup41
According to researchers, going for a walk can boost creativity by giving your mind a chance to wander. In a 2014 study, creative-thinking tests were administered to subjects both while sitting and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters.5
10. Live a longer life
Because of all the amazing benefits associated with walking making it a part of your daily routine can help you live a longer, healthier life. Research has shown that brisk walking can even increase your life expectancy by 15 to 20 years on average. It’s amazing that a seemingly small and easy change to your day can positively impact your life in such a significant way!
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