Benefits Of Walking
Walking is one of the easiest and most practical ways to stay fit and healthy. It doesn’t require any fancy gear or equipment to reap the many benefits that it can provide. Studies show that walking is the best thing that people can do to increase longevity, enhance functional years, and improve overall health. And in case you’re wondering what specific things walking can do for you, we’ve got 16 benefits to get you started.
1. Improves Heart Health
If you walk at least 30 minutes every day, you can reduce your risk of cardiovascular diseases like high blood pressure. Moreover, daily 30-minute walks can help improve the overall functioning of the heart. It stimulates the heart to pump blood in a more efficient manner. This delivers oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body.
2. Strengthen The Muscles And Bones
When you walk a few miles every day, you are toning the muscles in your legs. It may not be as efficient as strength training exercises, but this activity can do a good job of keeping muscle tone. This is the crucial first step to strengthening the muscles. And since the muscles attach to the bones, you can also help improve the health of your bones. This can help prevent fractures, premature bone loss, and osteoporosis.
3. Helps In Losing Weight
Walking for about 50 to 70 minutes three times a week for 3 months can help reduce overall waist circumference by at least 1.1 inches. On top of that, walking with the same frequency can help people lose by as much as 1.5 percent of body fat mass. If you can increase this to 90 minutes or make walking an everyday habit, then you can have that dream body in no time. So put on your walking shoes and hit the road.
4. Eases Painful Joints
Walking is a low-impact exercise that is ideal for those who may have problems with their knees. When you run, the impact generated as your foot hits the ground can send shockwaves through the knees. This can lead to pain. The good thing about walking is that it increases the production of lubricant in the joints. Walking also strengthens the surrounding structures. Overall, this can lead to better mobility and less severe pain in the joints. Make sure you also wear a pair of good compression socks or plantar fasciitis socks to make walking easier.
5. Helps Lower The Risk Of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2
People who walk can reduce their risk of type 2 diabetes mellitus by as much as 30 percent. All they need is to include 30-minute walks in their daily routine. For those already with diabetes, walking is an important activity to augment a diabetic diet plus medications. Walking improves metabolism, which can help mobilize and utilize glucose in the blood. This normalizes blood glucose levels, allowing for better control of diabetes symptoms.
6. Boosts The Immune System
The improvement in blood flow can also have an impact on the immune system. Since immune system cells are dependent on the structural proteins and other substances found in the blood, improving circulation also boosts the immune system. Walking about 45 to 60 minutes every day can increase the number of immunoglobulins and other immune system cells. This makes you better equipped to fight infectious diseases.
7. Alleviates Anxiety And Stress
Improving the blood flow means your brain also receives enough oxygen to help promote optimum nerve function. Moreover, walking stimulates the release of certain hormones that can help fight stress and make you feel a lot better. A reduction in anxiety levels can help increase productivity and enhance social relationships.
8. Saves The Brain
Getting old means a reduction in cognitive functioning. It doesn’t have to be this way. While you’re still young, you can start saving for your brain’s health when you reach old age. Walking reduces the risk of memory decline in the elderly. It can also help improve your decision-making skins as well as other cognitive functions.
9. Lifts Your Mood
There is one very particular benefit of walking that people will love. This activity can increase the level of endorphins in the brain. These substances can get you a more natural high, so you’ll feel better about yourself without the dreaded risk of addiction. Having a good mood can set you up for greater things in life.
10. Improves Coordination And Balance
The muscles of the legs are not only useful for mobility. They are also important in making sure you maintain your balance. This can have significant implications in our activities of daily living for many of our activities require us in a standing position. Walking also helps improve the coordination of the different muscle groups. This allows you to move with greater efficiency.
11. Increases Life Expectancy
On average, people who walk at least 30 minutes every day can help reduce the risk of dying by as much as 20 percent. Such activity can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases, a major factor in modern-day mortality figures. Walking at a brisk pace can further increase one’s life expectancy by another 10 percent or so.
12. Helps You Sleep Better
The combination of improved blood flow to the brain and its relaxing effects make walking a great sleep agent. You will feel better rested after 30 to 45 minutes of brisk walking. The quality of your sleep also improves. This allows the body to make repairs and prepare it for another day.
13. Reduces Risk Of Certain Cancers
Women who walk at least 7 hours every week have a much lower risk of developing breast cancer. Studies show that walking can reduce cancer risk by as much as 54 percent. The same is true when it comes to colon cancer. There is also a substantial reduction in the risk for these cancers. There are also researches that point to the cancer risk-reduction capabilities of walking among post-menopausal women.
14. Delays The Effects Of Aging
Nobody can turn back time. Everyone ages. However, exercises like walking can help you delay some of the signs of aging. The improvement in joint function means you will not have to suffer impaired mobility. The stronger bones and muscles also mean that you will be able to continue doing the things that you love doing even though you’re already old.
15. Increases Lung Capacity
Walking has this amazing effect on your lung’s efficiency capacity. It increases lung capacity so that you will breathe in more air. More air means more oxygen that gets delivered to all the cells in your body. The increase in oxygen supply allows the tissues to function in a more efficient manner. A well-functioning body means less chances of developing diseases. This can also save you from costly hospitalization and other healthcare treatments.
16. Improves The Appearance Of Varicose Veins
These tortuous veins in the lower legs occur because blood is not able to circulate properly. The pool in the lower extremities, causing the blood vessels to engorge. When you walk, you help improve the flow of blood from this part of the body. It allows you to reduce the size of the varicose veins so they become less visible. This also helps prevent other problems that may arise from poor blood circulation.
Walking is an easy way to maintain fitness and improve overall health. It’s a proven method for preventing diseases and reducing the risk of certain health conditions.
- 10 Eye-Opening Benefits of Walking – MNN
- 50 Amazing Benefits of Walking Daily, According to Science – Jen Reviews
- How to Get the Biggest Benefits of Walking – Consumer Reports