10 Powerful Health Benefits of Walking Every Day
Perhaps one of the most underrated forms of exercise, walking provides vast health benefits that might just surprise you. While some types of workouts may not be for everyone, walking is, in fact, for anyone who is physically able to stand up and walk.
As one of the most gentle and enjoyable forms of movement, walking daily is pleasant but it also packs a big fitness punch. You’ll be shocked at how just a little extra movement can move you miles ahead with your health.
What are the Benefits of Walking?
You see people doing it every day. Whether out of necessity or for exercise, walkers abound in parks and forests, on sidewalks and paved paths, in malls and warehouse stores, and more. From the physical to the mental and emotional aspects, the health benefits of walking are simply incredible. Check out some of the health benefits you, too, can enjoy when you get started on a daily walking program.
1. Lose Body Fat
Yes, even something as simple as walking can reap big rewards in the weight-loss department. Walking is movement, and movement burns calories. The number of calories you burn, and how much weight you can lose, will be determined by how often you walk, how fast you walk, the incline of the terrain you’re traveling, and how far you go as well as, of course, how you eat.
Short on time but still want to get in a healthy walk? Try breaking it up into smaller bursts. Do three 10-minute walks, for example, instead of skipping your walk because you thought you had to do 30 consecutive minutes. It all adds up.
2. Strengthen Your Bones
Both resistance training and exercises like walking that place an impact on your bones can help make you stronger and strengthen and build bone density. The gentle repetitive pressure placed upon your feet, ankles, knees, legs, and hips as you walk is helpful when it comes to staving off osteoporosis.
3. Get a Great Cardiovascular Workout
A daily walk can do wonders for your aerobic fitness level. The more you walk, the better you’ll be conditioned. And, don’t forget that you can level up the intensity of your walks as you get more fit by walking faster or including inclines in your workouts. Try incorporating some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) if you’re up for a challenge. Do two minutes of walking followed by 30 seconds of fast walking, jogging, or incline work. Repeat. HIIT is a fantastic way to melt off the pounds quickly. It’s requires effort, that’s for sure, but you won’t be disappointed by the results!
4. Boost Your Immune System
Yes, exercise of any sort, but specifically walking, is a big factor when it comes to boosting your immune system. And, science says that walking in nature not only helps you shake off stress, but it quite literally boosts your immune system by increasing your white blood cell count and lowering your pulse rate. It’s even better when walking outdoors, surrounded by nature. You see, plants are known for emitting chemicals called phytoncides, which can even help your body bolster itself against major diseases like cancer. So, think of that stroll through the park as putting on metaphorical body armor.
5. Reduce Pain Caused by Arthritis
Why is walking such a powerful antidote to pain caused by arthritis? Although it may seem counterintuitive at first, the same aches and pains that would tend to keep you on the couch and indoors are the same aches and pains that can improve with daily walking. Studies show that walking helps to lubricate and warm up sore joints and tissues, helping to heal and strengthen.
6. Improve Your Circulation
Get the blood flowing on a regular basis by walking every day. Increased blood flow will help distribute nourishment throughout your body and flush your tissues with much-needed oxygen. In this day and age when sitting is the predominant state, getting up and moving is more important to your ultimate health than ever before. Do yourself a favor and reap the benefits of walking by moving around as much as possible.
7. Reduce Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
According to the scientific journal Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology, walking packs much more of a health-related punch than you might think. Walking is just as effective at lowering your risk of disease and negative health markers as is running. So, no more excuses!
8. Lessen your Risk for Diabetes, Heart Disease, Cancer, and Chronic Diseases
Yes, all through the simple act of getting in a healthy walk every single day. Research shows that walking as little as 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week, can lessen your risk of coronary heart disease by 19%!
9. Reduce Depression
Indeed, you can also lift your depression and lessen your anxiety by getting up and getting out. The endorphins (feel-good hormones) released when you exercise can help to enhance your mood, release stress, and reduce anxiety.
10. Feel More Confident
It’s a fact that regular exercise can give your confidence a lift. Not only will you be healthier overall, but you’ll feel healthier, and it will show. The health benefits of walking every day, plus the side benefit of getting toned and losing body fat, can naturally boost your self-image.
Go for at Least 10,000 Steps a Day
What’s the big deal about something as simple as 10,000 steps a day? Getting at least 10,000 steps a day ensures you get in a good amount of walking, enough to experience real health benefits.
According to studies by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), getting in your steps, regardless of intensity, can reduce your risk of dying from heart disease and cancer by more than 50% over your non-walking counterparts.