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When’s the last time you went for a walk? For the record, walking to your car or to the fridge doesn’t count. What we mean is, when’s the last time you walked as a form of real exercise? If you can’t recall when—and you honestly don’t see yourself doing it any time soon—we hope you’ll read this article all the way through. It could literally save your life.
A few years ago, Huffington Post published, “Sitting Is the New Smoking: Ways a Sedentary Lifestyle Is Killing You.” It explained how while most of us are comfortable in our chairs and in front of our laptops, it’s wrecking our health—oftentimes without us even realizing it.
The solution? For starters, walking more. If you’re curious about the many benefits of walking everyday can improve your health, we’ve got 10 for you.
Walking keeps your weight in check.
If you want to lose weight around your waistline, it’s as simple as putting on your walking shoes! If you’re around 180 pounds and you walk a mile, you can burn as much as 100 calories. If you’re 120 pounds? Close to 65. Just think about how much weight you could lose if you walked a couple of miles each day!
If the thought of taking daily walks already exhausts you, maybe ask a friend to join you early in the morning before going to work or walk with your spouse after dinner a few times a week. If you have some company, the walks won’t seem so much like “exercise”; it’ll be more like spending quality time with a loved one. Shedding a few pounds will just be a bonus!
Walking is good for your heart.
You need your heart in a major way. If you constantly remain in a sedentary lifestyle, you significantly increase your chances of being diagnosed with heart disease. That’s bad news.
The good news is, taking regular walks not only can reduce the risk of heart disease, it can also strengthen your heart in the process. That’s because walking has the proven ability to lower your blood pressure, decrease cholesterol in the body, and also prevent you from having diabetes.
If you’re wondering about your heart’s current condition, make an appointment to see your physician. No matter what the outcome, we’re willing to bet that one of the things they will recommend is that you start walking more often. It’s been known to be a “miracle cure” for a myriad of heart issues.
Walking gives you more energy.
If you’re someone who can’t see going through an entire day without a cup of java, we’ve got a suggestion. Try walking in the mornings instead! By making walking a part of your daily routine, you’ll receive a ton of oftentimes overlooked health benefits.
The fresh air will help to remove indoor air pollution from your lungs. The time you get alone to think can give you a moment to plan out your day, which could help to reduce stress. Also, walking is proven to help to increase energy levels too!
As we walk, our pulse rate increases, blood begins to circulate better, and, as we begin to sweat, toxins leave our body. Not only that, but we start to feel more alert too. It’s a caffeine-free way to feel energized—one that comes with zero side effects.
Walking lessens pain.
Did you know there were studies to support the fact that walking reduces pain in the body? Especially back pain? A particular study consisting of 31,000 sufferers, revealed that when individuals walk (correctly and with the right shoes on) on a consistent basis, they eliminate the need for back braces and pain-killers.
The reason why walking is such a great form of exercise is because it tends to do less damage to one’s joints that some other exercises do. Another way that walking relieves pain is that it increases blood circulation throughout the body, so that muscles and joints are able to receive the oxygen and nutrients they need.
If your back has been bothering you, leave the Advil in the medicine cabinet. See what a little walking can do for you instead.
Walking boosts your brainpower.
This point is interesting. If we haven’t inspired you to start walking yet, maybe the fact that this form of exercise can make you smarter will pique your interest. That’s right, not only does walking help to protect your brain from experiencing cognitive illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia later on in life, it can do wonders for improving your memory and increasing your reading comprehension, making it easier to learn to.
When you think about all of this, it makes sense that our moms had us play outside when we were little. It’s also the kind of habit that we should apply as adults to our daily routine.
Since something as simple as walking can do so much for our brains, why wouldn’t we want to do it as often as possible?
Walking helps you to look younger.
The cosmetics and plastic surgery industries literally make billions of dollars providing us with ways to look younger. But if money is tight for you, there is a simple anti-aging method you can try—walking.
Walking is the kind of physical activity that you should do to look younger because again, the outdoor air is great for your skin (as long as you’re mindful of these summer workout risks, of course). There’s more. All of us have what are known as telomeres; they’re markers of how our cells age. When we participate in cardiovascular exercises like walking, not only does it protect our telomeres, they lengthen their lifeline too.
The healthier these cells are, the healthier and fuller your skin becomes, and the younger you end up looking—all without spending a dime.
Walking puts you in a better mood.
If you woke up on the wrong side of the bed or the first half of your day at work has been anything but awesome, you don’t have to settle for staying in a less-than-stellar mood. Believe it or not, something that can bring a smile to your face in no time is stepping outside into the sunshine and taking a brisk walk around your office.
One way that walking does this is because cardio exercise helps to decrease the stress hormone cortisol from your system. The less stressed out you are, the calmer you will become, and the happier you will begin to feel.
If you drink water while you’re walking, you’ll start to feel yourself getting into a better mood even quicker. That's because water helps to prevent headaches and gives you an extra added boost of energy. The importance of H2O can never be understated.
A 15-minute walk will have you ready to tackle the rest of the day—in a much better mood!
Walking improves your quality of sleep.
Did you know that many people struggle with mild insomnia? One in three people, in fact. The problem with that is sleep deprivation leads to a lack of concentration, memory issues, mood swings, high blood pressure, a weak immune system, weight gain, a lack of balance, and a low libido!
Putting yourself on a sleep schedule, not using technology at least an hour before bedtime, and limiting your sugar intake are all things that can help you to get more sleep. Another thing that can help is incorporating a walking routine. Numerous studies reveal that those who walk on a consistent basis have a better quality of uninterrupted rest every night.
The better sleep you get, the better you will feel in no time!
Walking improves your balance and coordination.
Whenever you walk, there are specific muscles that you’re using—your gluteus muscles, the many different muscles in your hamstrings, and the muscles in your thighs (semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris muscles). The reason why it’s important to use these muscles as much as possible is because they help to strengthen your lower body. As a direct result, that helps to improve your balance and coordination—we all need both of those.
Good balance and coordination are abilities that a lot of us don’t think much about, but just consider what life would be like if you could never walk in a straight line again? What would you do if your legs always felt like they were going to buckle under you because they felt weak?
These are some things we take for granted until we don’t have them anymore, and walking is important to literally keeping our feet underneath us!
Walking increases longevity.
Can you believe that the woman on the left is Jada Pinkett-Smith’s mother and Willow Smith’s grandmother? Her name is Adrienne Banfield-Jones, and she’s an amazing 64!
Now that you’ve seen all of the ways walking everyday can improve your health, let’s share the best benefit—it can literally add years onto your life! How many? According to several studies, as much as seven.
If you commit to walking 30 minutes a day, no less than three days each week, not only will it help to make you feel better, it will also increase your life expectancy, regardless of how much you currently weigh.
Out of all of the reasons that we shared to get your walking shoes on and take a stroll through your neighborhood, does it get any better than this?
So, the next time taking a walk crosses your mind, but you’re torn between doing that and binge-watching another television program, walking shouldn't be taken for granted. Your life—and the quality of it—depend on you doing it more than you’ll ever know!