The weather is warming up across the country, so it’s a great time to get outside and start walking. Whether you’re already in good shape or want to get there, walking is a great addition to everyone’s day for the countless benefits it provides to your health. Here are just a few:
- Improve and maintain your cardio health.
Everyone knows about the importance of getting enough cardio. A cardio workout doesn’t have to be a high-intensity one. In fact, walking just 30 minutes a day can reduce your risk for stroke, high blood pressure, and lower bad cholesterol (LDL) while raising good cholesterol (HDL).
- Get your vitamin D.
More than one billion people worldwide are vitamin D deficient — that’s a staggering number. Studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and higher rates of many forms of cancer‚ as well as heart disease‚ osteoporosis‚ multiple sclerosis and many other conditions and diseases. Spending time outdoors (be careful to not burn!) can help you get the vitamin D you need from the sun — humans make 90 percent of our vitamin D naturally from sunlight exposure to our skin!
- Brain health.
Studies have also shown that walking six miles or more per week, are more likely to avoid dementia and memory loss. Plus, walking can help boost connectivity between brain cells. All good things the noggin.
- Give yourself an energy boost.
If you’re tired, going out for a walk may be the last thing you want to do. Still, study after study has shown if you get up, get moving and get the blood circulating, you’ll produce more energy than staying sedentary.
- Boost your mood.
Walking, like many forms of exercise triggers your body to release endorphins. Endorphins, aside from being a natural pain reliever, help induce feelings of pleasure. So, that would mean, in theory, the more steps you take each day, the happier you’ll be. Some studies show that a brisk walk is just as effective as antidepressants in mild to moderate cases of depression, and can also do wonders to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Counteract the adverse effects of being sedentary.
The average American today spends something like nine to ten hours a day sitting, with some occupations racking up closer to twelve. Why is that bad? So many reasons! Being sedentary for more than eight hours a day is linked with a 90 percent increased risk of type 2 diabetes, along with increased risks of heart disease, cancer; not to mention gluteal atrophy. While getting in 30 – 40 minutes of cardio (walking) a day is recommended, research has shown that getting up and walking around for just two minutes an hour can increase your lifespan by 33 percent, plus it’ll get those glute muscles engaged!
- Balance that blood sugar.
Sure, going out for a walk after a big Thanksgiving dinner is always suggested, but it’s also a good idea to get up and get moving after every meal. Just 15 minutes of walking after eating has been shown to improve the blood glucose levels. Plus, if you’re trying to shed a few pounds, this is a great way to do it.
- Keep your joints happy.
Walking is a low-impact activity which is much kinder to your joints and spine than walking’s good friend running because it puts less stress on your skeletal system. The human body was designed to move — so being active will keep your muscular and skeletal system happy.
- Improve your balance.
Did you know that you have more than hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your feet? Just like other muscle systems, if you keep them engaged and active, you will help to keep them in shape. Having healthy and strong feet can help you improve your balance.
As you can see, walking is good for pretty much the entire body system, and you don’t have to do too much of it to reap the benefits. Plus, it’ll give you time to enjoy the beautiful Spring weather!