The Benefits of Walking
Walking, something we all do every day, but are you aware of the many benefits that walking has for your overall well being? Just 30 minutes a day can have a significant impact, for starters, it can increase your cardiovascular fitness, lower the risk of blood clots, boost your mood, boost muscle power, strength, and endurance, along with strengthening bones, and reducing body fat. In walking each day, you can also help reduce your risk of developing serious medical conditions such as osteoporosis, certain cancers, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. What's not to like about walking, it's easy, it's free, it is low impact on muscles and joints, and you can do it just about anywhere.
In walking for 30 minutes daily, you can burn up to an extra 150 calories daily, which may help with weight control as well. Over time, these calories burned can help with losing weight. A healthy and balanced diet is also important here. If you walk, consistently, at a brisk pace, for eight weeks, you may start to notice your more tones, your clothes fit better, and you may even notice improvement in your posture. While walking is a great for of cardio, keeping a brisk to moderate pace will increase the demands of your lungs, muscles, and your heart as well.
Walking can improve poor circulation, or circulation overall, which in turn helps prevent things such as heart disease. You can even decrease your chance of stroke by 20% when walking at a slower pace, and by 40% with walking at a consistent, brisk, pace. It can also help with longevity of life, those who exercise, have movement within their daily life, including walking, live longer. In fact even people in their 50's and 60's are less likely to die young than their non-walking, more sedentary peers.
It may go without saying, that walking, or other exercise also helps strengthen our muscles. Walking will help tone your abdominal muscles, and your leg muscles, and if you walk and pump your arms, you may notice a positive change in then as well. While doing so, you are also increasing your range of motion, and helping to shift the weight and pressure from your joints to your muscles. Your joints will also thank you, as the majority of joint cartilage has no direct blood supply, meaning it actually get's its much needed nutrition from joint fluid that circulates as we move.
In walking daily, you may also find that you are able to do more, for longer. You will also be helping yourself decrease the chances or risk for Alzheimer's. Research has found that those who range between 71-93 years old, who manage to walk more than a quarter mile a day, experience half the incidence of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than their peers who walked less or not at all. Walking truly can lead you to a better life, and slow down the inevitable mental decline that happens as we age.
You may be more interested to know, that 30 minutes or more of walking a day can also improve your sleep! It can even decrease insomnia, and sleep longer. Any movement that get's your heart rate up can improve your sleep. It can also improve your mood, personally if I am sleeping well, my mood is also brighter. Walking actually releases painkilling endorphins which are natural within your body. Overall, those who take more steps within their day, had brighter moods as well.
So, it's no surprise that a good walk can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. It can aid in helping boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality, decrease stress, anxiety, and depression, and can in the long run, help those struggling with depression to recover.
Another fun fact, is that as your walk, your breathing rate actually increases, causing oxygen to travel much quicker through bloodstream, in turn, helping to eliminate waste products and improve your energy level and the ability to heal. Which can help improve bad breath.