Walking is often overlooked as a form of exercise. We tend to think of it as something we do to get from one place to another rather than an activity that can have real health benefits. But the truth is that walking is great for you and can have major benefits on your health. Here are five reasons why:
Improves Heart Health
Regular walking can be key in maintaining heart health and preventing the onset of heart-related illnesses. According to a study done by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), walking for at least 30 minutes regularly can reduce your risk for heart disease, hypertension, and other circulatory illnesses. Cardiovascular exercise not only helps to lower bad cholesterol levels, but it also helps to increase the circulation of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, potentially minimizing fatigue and toning the heart muscles.
Strengthens Bones and Muscles
Walking is a great way to keep muscles toned and increase bone density. It also keeps you active and also helps to improve balance and coordination, which can reduce the risk of falls and injuries.
Keep in mind that regular-paced walking won’t do much for increasing bone density. Osteoblasts—the cells responsible for building bones—require continuous pressure for about 12 seconds to build stronger bones. WellandGood.com suggests walking in slow motion and taking 1 step every 12 seconds to help maintain the pressure so the osteoblasts can get to work building up your bones.
Enhances Mental Well-Being
Taking a walk can improve mood, reduce stress, and even help with depression. Though the research is still limited, it continues to expand. The importance of where you take your walk—outdoors rather than on a treadmill—appears to be a crucial element in determining how much walking can enhance mental well-being.
Walking can aid weight loss or prevent weight gain and is a great way to keep your body in shape. Walking just 30 minutes a day can burn up to 200 calories!
Reduces Joint Pain
A powerful exercise for your joint health, walking is an activity that can reduce stiffness and pain from arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, and bursitis. Regular walking can also help to improve muscle mass surrounding the joints. This muscle growth not only helps you with daily activities, but it can also provide joint stability and strength around the bone, increasing joint stability. Additionally, walking can increase your range of motion and flexibility, which are also helpful for maintaining healthy joints and reducing strain on those joints.
Whether you are looking to improve heart health, strengthen bones and muscles, enhance mental well-being, control weight, or reduce joint pain, walking is a simple activity loaded with benefits. A regular walking routine can help with so many aspects of your overall well-being and should be incorporated into your daily routine. So grab your shoes and get moving!