Walking is one of the easiest cardiovascular exercises. You do not need any special equipment apart from suitable clothing and appropriate shoes, and you can do it any time of day. Daily walking in the fresh air can boost your overall health and mental wellbeing. Fresh air and exercise can diminish stress and make you feel healthy, vibrant, and ready for anything. Regular walks with loved ones can promote bonding and joining a local walking group can help you make new friends. Walking is sociable, invigorating, and a new hobby to take up at any age.
Physical activity is a well-established mood booster
10 Health Benefits of Walking
1. Improves Your Mood
Physical activity is a well-established mood booster. If you’re having a stressful day at the office, a lunchtime walk could significantly reduce stress. If the kids are driving you around the bend at home, gather them up for playtime at the park, it will tire them out and the fresh air could help you decompress and gather your thoughts. If you’re struggling to come to a decision about an important life event, walking in the fresh air is a great way to enjoy nature, clear your head, and could help you reach that decision. Humans are creatures of nature, breathing fresh air and enjoying our local parks is crucial to our mental wellbeing.
2. Sleep Better
The benefits of walking or any physical exercise for sleep disorders are hugely beneficial. Physical exercise, especially strength training can ease insomnia symptoms and help you sleep better at night. But, you do not need to hit the gym every day to lessen insomnia symptoms, a walk in the park or around your neighborhood will work too. Walking in the daylight fills your system with vitamin D and boosts your circadian rhythm which alerts your body to sleep at night. A quality pressure-relieving mattress along with daily walks can improve your sleep quality and physical health.
3. Lose Weight and Strengthens Muscles
Only 30 minutes a day of brisk walking burn calories enough to lose weight and strengthen muscles. Weight loss can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and help you live longer. Start walking at a pace that is comfortable to your fitness level- oscillate between speed walking and steady walking when you feel your cardio fitness improving. A daily walking program boosts your metabolism to burn calories and strengthen muscles. Gravitate to hiking for even greater physical health benefits. Grab a friend, pack a day pack, and hit a hiking trail. Fresh air and nature, a potent mix for longevity and happiness.
4. Strengthen Immune System
Your immune system is the framework of your physical health. Physical exercise increases immunity from some illnesses and could flush bacteria from the airways and lungs. A strong immune system can reduce the risk of developing a severe illness like cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, blood pressure, and ease seasonal colds and flu symptoms. Exercise is crucial to maintaining a healthy immune system. Active people are less likely to suffer upper respiratory infections that lead to coughs, runny nose, and sore throat. Exercising for three days per week can lessen your chances of catching a common cold.
5. Boost Creativity
Stanford University has found that daily walking boosts creativity by 60%. If you are someone who paces around the room when chatting on the phone, a quick walk to get the creative juices flowing could work wonders for you. Walking stimulates the creative process and can be useful in brainstorming meetings or when you’re feeling stuck in your work. Walking on a treadmill, around your home, in your garden, neighborhood, or local park can unstick ideas and unleash creativity.
6. Improve Blood Circulation
One of the major health benefits of walking is improved blood circulation in your legs. Your blood circulatory system brings vital nutrients to your entire body and pulls waste from your system. Daily walking can strengthen your blood flow and along with a healthy diet, improve blood circulation. Managing stress is another way to keep your blood pressure at a healthy level. Walking in the fresh air or on a treadmill quietens an active mind and instills a sense of calm.
7. Ease Arthritic Pain
Researchers at Northwestern University found that walking as little as ten minutes per day is enough for older adults to experience arthritic pain relief. Aerobic exercise gets your blood pumping to keep cartilage healthy, strengthen leg muscles, and keep your weight in check. Walking outside in the fresh air uses more muscles, increasing blood flow to joints and other tissues. Walking outside can be a social event helping you to walk longer and have more fun exercising.
8. Improve Bone Mass
After the age of 30 bone mineral density naturally diminishes putting you at risk of fractures and breaks from falls. Improved bone mass is one of the many benefits of walking. Apart from aerobic exercise, weight lifting and using resistance bands strengthens muscles and subsequently, strengthens bone mass. If lifting weights is not your thing, brisk walking is equally beneficial to your bone health. Walk uphill as much as you can as this will activate more muscles and strengthen your cardiovascular health too. Try some gentle yoga along with your daily walking routine for a gentle yet effective exercise routine.
9. Improve Joint Health
As joints age, cartilage blood flow can diminish resulting in less vital joint lubrication. Walking can stimulate blood flow, improve muscle strength, and make you feel physically better. If your joints are creaking it could be a good time to start a new walking routine. Include a collagen supplement to your diet which is proven to aid joint health.
10. Live Longer
Quality of life is at the heart of a long and happy life. Physical health is the foundation that quality of life is built on. Eating healthy food, enjoying physical exercise, drinking water, spending time with loved ones, and engaging in your community are the building blocks of a good life. Brisk walking every day or a few times per week improves blood circulation, lessens your risk of cardiovascular disease, and can be a social activity when walking with loved ones or joining a walking group.
How to Walk for Fitness
- Do some gentle stretches before and after walking
- Aim for a 30-minute walk if possible a few times per week
- Keep your head up and eyes looking forward
- Don’t slouch your shoulders, keep them relaxed
- Keep your back straight, don’t lean forward as you walk
- Keep your stride natural, no need to aim for longer strides as you walk
- Carry a water bottle
- Wear weather-appropriate clothes
- Wear the right shoes that offer arch support, are comfortable, and keep your feet cool and dry
- Carry a walking pole for stability if needed
- Ask a buddy or loved one to join you or join a local walking group, dogs make great walking buddies too
Walking is a mode of transport but also an easy way to improve cardiovascular fitness, improve bone and joint health, ease pain, and help you destress. Walking in the fresh air boosts creativity and makes you feel at one with nature. Put some comfortable shoes on and get out there, the fresh air is waiting for you.