It’s no secret that walking regularly is good for your health. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, it reduces stress and it promotes good cardiovascular health. However, there’s a little more to it than that. Walking is a highly underrated form of exercise, and has a wide variety of physical, mental and emotional benefits.
Here are a few benefits you may not be aware of:
If you’re stuck on a problem, take a walk! Studies have shown that people are generally more creative while walking than while sitting.
Walking can improve your body’s response to insulin, which in turn helps reduce belly fat.
Risk of Disease
Studies have shown that your risk of developing diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and breast cancer are all reduced by regular walking.
One of the first things they tell patients who have had abdominal surgery is to start walking. That’s because walking engages your core muscles and movement in your gastrointestinal system.
Varicose veins are the result of weak veins in your calves and feet. Walking strengthens this “secondary circulatory system” and helps prevent varicose veins from forming.
Lifting weights is a great way to encourage bone health, but so is walking. Studies have found that women who walk for a minimum of four hours a week have a 40 percent reduced risk of hip fractures.
Balance and Coordination
As we age, our muscles can weaken and lose some of the “memory” they have had for years. Regular walking not only keeps your muscles strong but keeps critical muscle memory intact.
Several studies have found that regular walking reduces the pain associated with arthritis. Walking can also protect your joints, especially in your knees and hips.
Those who walk at least 20 minutes daily have stronger immune systems and report up to 43 percent fewer sick days, according to studies.
Walking may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. Morning walks are especially beneficial as the exposure to early daylight can help you maintain your natural sleep patterns.
Despite all these benefits, the great part about walking is that it’s easy and totally free. Whether you’re a couch potato or are in great shape, anyone can start a simple walking routine. All you need to get started is a comfortable pair of shoes, a safe place to walk (example: a nature trail, park, public pathway, sidewalk, indoor mall, etc.) and a commitment to walking at least 30 minutes every day.
Heart Your Health today by planning your first daily walk and committing to moving more and sitting less.