Walking is the most accessible and easy exercise. There is no equipment or training required to start, and studies show going on walks has many benefits to both physical and mental health. If you are looking for a simple yet very effective way of moving your body, and improving your overall health that is low impact, walking is something you can consider. It is important to keep our bodies moving through our lives, sedentarism has been linked with many diseases like diabetes and obesity. Being physically active will ensure your body stays healthy for as long as possible.
- Brain boosting
A study from the University of Kansas shows how low impact exercises like going on walks prevents early onset dementia and improves memory. Scientists predict that the number of people with Alzheimer’s will double in the next 20 years. The good news is that people that are physically active throughout their lives are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. That’s because they have more volume in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning; walking also improves your overall mental well-being by reducing stress and releasing endorphins as it stimulates not only the production of chemicals responsible for brain health but also for the survival of blood vessels and cells.
- Improved eyesight
One of the benefits of going on walks is it can help relieve eye pressure. Glaucoma is a condition that develops when fluids build up inside the eyes increasing the pressure affecting the optic nerve, which results in visual impairment. The Glaucoma Research Foundation recommends walking as one of the ways to reduce the risk of developing glaucoma and even relieve its symptoms. Walking is good for eyesight in general. Low and high intensity exercise strengthens and stimulates the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes the images of our eyes.
- Prevention of heart disease
You are probably aware of the fact that running makes your heart stronger, but according to the American Heart Association, walking is no less effective than running when it comes to prevention of heart disease and stroke. A daily half an hour walk helps avoid serious problems like coronary heart disease by lowering the high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and improving blood circulation.
- Increased lung volume
Going on walks is an aerobic exercise, which means that it has the benefit of increasing oxygen flow in the bloodstream and helping to eliminate toxins wastes. Is great for your lungs because it promotes better quality and deeper breathing. Some symptoms associated with lung disease can show significant improvement by walking. The stress and medication that lung disease brings within weakens the immune system of those suffering from. Research shows that walking outside helps improve the immune system.
- Benefits for the pancreas
Walking for exercise is surprisingly more effective to prevent diabetes than running is. A Duke University study evaluated subjects over a six-month trial period. The group of frequent walkers demonstrated six times greater improvement in glucose tolerance or blood sugar absorption than runners. Showing better management of glucose lowering the secretion of insulin; thereby preventing diabetes.
- Improves digestion
Just half an hour of walking everyday lowers the risk of developing colon cancer and improves digestion and regulates bowel movement. Going on walks is great for people that suffer from chronic constipation. Walking also confers better chances of surviving colon cancer once it has already been diagnosed.
- Toned muscles
Studies show how just 10 000 steps daily can be just as effective as a full-blown workout at the gym especially if you add intervals or include uphill walking. Just remember to use correct form by keeping your spine straight, bending your elbows at a 90 degrees angle, swinging your arms and stabilizing your pelvis. Find your optimal pace but do not break into a jog. Speed walking is a low-impact exercise that does not require any recovery time (as there are no sore muscles).
- Sturdier bones and joints
Walking can provide more joint morbidity prevention and the loss of bone density and reduce the risk of fractures. As we age, the bones are prone to breakage as they become weak due to a condition called osteoporosis. The Arthritis Foundation recommends 30 minutes of moderate walking to reduce pain, stiffness and inflammation in the joints. Going on walks benefits you by keep your bones strong.
- Relieves back pain
Walking can help cure back pain. Since walking is low impact, it is a great alternative for those that suffer from back and joint pain since it will not cause more pain or discomfort. Walking contributes to better blood circulation within the spinal structure by pumping nutrients into tissues and improving posture and flexibility both of which are vital for a healthy spine. As you walk, your spine will be more stable and your muscles around your back will strengthen.
- Calms the mind
Walking can help you find a calmer mind. It can help manage depression, anxiety and also push back major mental illnesses. Walking 30 to 45 minutes a day 5 days a week improves these conditions is a good amount Walking outdoors seems to have an even bigger impact on mental health, and walking in nature is known to be especially therapeutic.If you still do not feel motivated enough to start walking for your health, try joining a class or find a friend who can keep you company. Walking and chatting can be fun, and also keeps you accountable!