Benefits of Walking Photo: iStock

Benefits of Walking

Have you ever felt like you wanted to get some exercise, but didn’t feel like going to the gym to workout? Or just felt like you needed to do something after sitting all day? Well put on your shoes and go take a walk. The best part about it is that you don’t need a fancy gym membership or gear to walk. Walking is the best form of exercise. “Walking can be as good as a workout, if not better than running,” says Dr. Matt Tanneberg, CSCS, a sports Chiropractor and Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist in Phoenix, Arizona who works with elite athletes. Here are some benefits of walking just 30 minutes every day:

Burns Calories & Helps Lose Weight

Walking daily burns the calories that you gain every day, it helps maintain a steady weight and burns any unwanted extra calories. By walking for just 30 minutes daily you start becoming fitter and build more lean muscles which ensures that you burn more calories even if you are resting.

Lowers Blood Sugar

Studies find that walking for 30 minutes post-meal improves blood sugar levels more than taking a 45-minute walk at another point during the day. Walking makes your heart beat a little faster and breathe a little harder. Your muscles use more glucose which is the sugar in your bloodstream. Over time, this can lower your blood sugar levels and make the insulin in your body work better.

Optimizes Immune System

Walking helps reduce the risk of developing a cold or flu. Studies tracking 1,000 adults during flu season show those who walked for 30 to 45 minutes a day had 43 percent fewer sick days and less upper respiratory tract infections overall. Their symptoms were also lessened if they did get sick compared to adults in the study who were sedentary.

Strengthens the Heart

Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week reduces the risk of coronary heart disease by about 19 percent. And your risk may reduce even more when you increase the duration or distance you walk per day.

Eases Joint Pains

Walking can help protect the joints, including your knees and hips. That’s because it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints. It also provides benefits to people living with arthritis, such as reducing pain. 

Increase Life

Something so simple as walking every day helps extend your life. Researchers found that walking at an average pace compared to a slow pace resulted in a 20 percent reduced risk of overall death. But walking at a brisk or fast pace (at least 4 miles per hour) reduced the risk by 24 percent. The study looked at the association of walking at a faster pace with factors like overall causes of death, cardiovascular disease, and death from cancer.

Improves Mood

Walking helps improve your mental health. Studies show it boosts self-esteem and reduces symptoms of social withdrawal. It helps boost blood flow to your brain, decreases stress hormones, and releases endorphins which can improve your mood, reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. In addition to clearing your head, it can also help you think creatively.

With all these benefits and more, walking definitely seems like an easy and convenient way to improve one self’s physical, mental, and emotional health. So what are you waiting for?