Walking is perhaps the simplest form of exercise – It’s so simple most of us don’t even think about it as exercise. When we try to lose those extra pounds as the sunny weather (we hope!) approaches our mind goes straight away to hardcore workouts at the gym, and perhaps some of the dread you may attach to that! In fact though, walking is an excellent way to reach our health goals – when it comes down to it, it’s the original form of exercise!
Why walking is great
Walking is one of the simplest and most accessible forms of exercise. It requires no special equipment, can be done anywhere, and is suitable for all ages and fitness levels. In addition to being convenient, walking has numerous benefits for your physical, mental, and emotional health. Walking does not burn a huge amount of calories compared to an intensive workout – but then again, it doesn’t need to. With a few lifestyle changes you can add a lot of walking to your day, reap the health benefits and also get outside and enjoy nature along the way. Although it may not be the biggest calorie burner, walking does have some significant benefits!
Walking Improves cardiovascular health
Walking is a great way to improve your cardiovascular health. It gets your heart rate up, which strengthens your heart and helps to lower your blood pressure. Regular walking can also improve your cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. One study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association found that walking for 150 minutes per week (which translates to just 30 minutes a day, five days a week) can lower your risk of heart disease by up to 31 percent.
Walking Helps with weight loss
Walking is a low-impact exercise that can help you lose weight. While it’s not as effective as more intense exercise, when you walk, you do burn calories, which can help you shed unwanted pounds. Walking can also help to tone your muscles, making you feel stronger and more toned. A study published in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that women who walked for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, lost an average of 12 pounds over a 16-week period.
Walking Boosts mood and mental health
Walking can have a positive impact on your mental health. It has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. Walking outside in nature can be especially beneficial, as it has a calming effect on the mind and can help to improve your mood. A study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine found that taking a 30-minute walk in nature just once a week can reduce symptoms of depression by up to 7 percent.
Improves bone density
Walking is a weight-bearing exercise, which means it helps to improve bone density. This can help to reduce your risk of osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions. A study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research found that postmenopausal women who walked for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, increased their hip bone density by 2 percent.
Walking Increases energy levels
Walking can help to increase your energy levels. It boosts circulation, delivering oxygen and nutrients to your cells, which can help to reduce fatigue and increase your overall energy levels. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that taking a 10-minute walk can increase energy levels for up to two hours.
Walking Improves sleep quality
Walking can also help to improve the quality of your sleep. Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. It can also help to improve the overall quality of your sleep, leaving you feeling more rested and refreshed. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine found that walking for 30 minutes a day, four times a week, improved sleep quality in older adults with insomnia.
So get walking!
Walking is a simple yet effective way to improve your overall health and wellbeing. Whether you’re looking to improve your cardiovascular health, lose weight, boost your mood, or just get outside more, walking could be an excellent way to start.