Walking is great for weight loss, but the benefits go far beyond—from higher energy and better mood to stress relief, a creativity boost, and more.
Whether you’re just having a down day or a down life, taking a walk can lift your mood—especially when you go outdoors, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The study participants who averaged 150 minutes of moderate exercise (golf, tennis, aerobics classes, swimming, or line-dancing) or 200 minutes of walking every week reported higher energy levels, better emotional health, and a more robust social life when researchers followed up after three years.
9. Fewer asthma flares
You don’t need to avoid exercise if you have experienced exercise-induced asthma. You just need to find the right exercise in the right conditions. The American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology says walking, along with swimming, golfing and leisure biking, is less likely to irritate your airways. More generally, look for activities you can do in warm weather and which don’t require significant endurance. Learn the speed you should walk to breathe in less pollution.
8. Off-the-charts creativity
Stumped for an idea? Take a quick stroll around the block. Whether you need a solution to a problem at work or you’re looking for inspiration for your novel, walking gets your creative juices flowing in all areas. One Stanford University study found that walking can boost creative output by 60 percent. The same results were found for both indoor and outdoor workouts, and the creative boost lasted after the walk itself.
7. Metabolism to the max
Metabolic syndrome—the evil trifecta of increased blood pressure/cholesterol, high blood sugar, and fat around your waist—is one of the worst side effects of our sedentary lifestyle. It signals diabetes, heart disease, and even early death. But we have an old-fashioned cure to this modern-day disease: exercise. One study published in the Nigerian Medical Journal found that the likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome decreased by 29 percent simply by walking over an hour a day.
6. Improves Heart Health
Walking daily for 30 minutes a day will increase your heart rate. The higher the heart rate, the better the blood circulation in the body. Brisk walking is also known to lower the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Walking also plays an integral role in the primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular diseases, according to a study.
5. Cash in the bank
Fitness can be pricey! Money for a gym membership, home exercise equipment, workout clothes, and shoes adds up fast. But it doesn’t have to. Walking requires absolutely nothing—even shoes are optional!—but still provides great health benefits. And not only does it save you money on things, but it also saves you money in healthcare. According to a study in the Journal of the American Heart Association, those who exercised regularly saved mega dollars when it came to healthcare costs compared to those who didn’t meet the minimum weekly exercise requirements (30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity aerobic activity five days a week, or at least 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity three days a week).
4. Reduces The Risk Of Chronic Diseases
Walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall diabetes risk, according to the American Diabetes Association. A study revealed that physical activity such as walking could slash the risk of various chronic diseases including diabetes mellitus, colon cancer, breast cancer, obesity, hypertension, bone, and joint diseases and depression.
3. Sleep Deep
Getting a solid eight hours snoozing in the sack is one of the most important things you can do for your health. But sometimes that’s easier said than done. Thankfully a brisk walk may be all you need. According to the Sleep Foundation, researchers have found that people who exercised regularly, including walking, fell asleep more quickly, slept longer, and had better quality sleep than those who did vigorous exercise or lifted weights.
2. Slash Stress
Raise your hand if you’re stressed out. OK, OK, put both your hands back down. Most of us swim in a pool of stress every day and that takes a serious toll on our mental and physical health. But science says walking is one of the fastest, most effective ways to calm down. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, a simple 10-minute walk may be as effective as a 45-minute workout in terms of reducing anxiety and depression. Moving clears cortisol, the “stress hormone”, out of your system and also helps stop the never-ending stream of worries going through your mind.
1. Delays Ageing
As you age, you might experience pain and stiffness in the joints after waking up in the morning. Walking is one of the best ways to combat this as it will keep your body muscles functioning, strengthen your bones and keep you younger. This, in turn, will increase your lifespan.