If you’ve been striving towards a healthier lifestyle, walking is one of the best forms of physical activity there is. Whether your goal is weight loss, whether you’ve been struggling with mental health issues, or whether you simply want an easy way to stay in shape and get outside, you can enjoy many different health benefits from going on a walk. Whether you’re young or old, in excellent shape, just starting out on your fitness journey, or recovering from an illness, walking is a free form of exercise that is very easy to fit into your daily routine.
Here is what you need to know about some of the reasons why going on a walk is so good for your overall health and well-being.
#1. Burn Calories
If you’re on a mission to drop some pounds or you simply want an easy way to stay in shape, some loops around your local park can help you achieve these goals. Many people struggle with staying active because here in the United States, many jobs require you to sit all day, and after a long day of work, you want to be able to enjoy time to yourself. When most people think of exercise, they think of lifting weights or heaving for air while running on a treadmill or other strenuous activities.
Walking is a low-impact exercise that burns calories without putting excessive strain on your body. Because it is easy to do, you may find that it helps you achieve your goals more easily than trying to do a form of exercise that you hate would.
#2. Improve Cardiovascular Health
When you walk for at least half an hour a day five days out of the week, you can strengthen your heart and reduce your risk of heart disease. Even if you aren’t power walking and your heart isn’t racing, a walk can still improve your overall cardiovascular health, especially if you make it part of your daily routine.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that you get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity in a week, which 30-minute walks 5 days a week can help you achieve.
#3. Boost Your Mood
If you suffer from depression, anxiety, or another mental illness, you’re probably sick of people telling you to get up and move. While walking won’t cure mental illnesses, it can reduce negative moods and increase self-esteem, which can make said illnesses easier to manage.
Even if you are stressed, angry, or otherwise in a bad mood for one reason or another, going on a walk causes your body to release endorphins. These can improve your mood and help you find more mental clarity.
#4. Enhance Creativity
Studies have found that walking can ignite more creativity than sitting can. This can be useful whether you’re stuck on a work problem or you’re dreaming up a story you want to write down. Many people enjoy listening to music or podcasts while they go on their daily walks, which can also help with sparking creativity as your blood is pumping and your mind is wandering.
When you go on a walk, you get a 2-for-1 deal: physical activity to help your body stay healthy and a freer flow of ideas to enhance your creative side.
#5. Strengthen Your Body
When you walk, your body needs to hold itself upright. This means that regular walks can preserve the health of your bones and could potentially decrease your risk of osteoporosis. Your core needs to work in order to keep you stabilized and balanced, while your legs propel you forward.
Walking can strengthen your body, especially if you go on routes that include different types of terrain and inclines. For optimal results, combine your walks with some strength training. This can be done as easily as by using some hand or ankle weights while you walk.
#6. Improve Your Sleep
Walking is a form of exercise, which helps to decrease stress and anxiety. It gets your body moving, requiring physical effort. It also boosts serotonin, which helps both your mood and your sleep. All of these factors combined mean that incorporating walks into your routine can help you enjoy more restful sleep at night.
Life Health Medical Center provides a functional medicine approach to various health concerns. If you are struggling with weight loss, depression, anxiety, or another health concern, contact us and let our doctors get to the root cause of your symptoms and help you find relief.