What if I told you I knew of an exercise you could do that was free, slowed down the aging process, and helped you lose weight? Sounds too good to be true, right? Nope!
I could talk all day about all the good things walking does for your body. There are so many benefits, both internal and external it’s hard to believe. Keep reading to learn the benefits of walking and why you should- no, have to- incorporate more walking into your routine.
Helps Manage Weight
This benefit might seem kind of obvious to you (duh, walking is exercise), but it’s such a valuable weight loss tool I had to include it. If you are at the beginning of your weight loss journey, walking is so effective at getting those first few pounds off and getting the ball rolling on losing weight. Sometimes, people have even lost an entire pants size in just a few weeks from walking alone!
Once you get farther into your weight loss program, you can ramp up your walking routine in a few different ways. Work to keep a faster pace, add interval waking, or even walk with exercise bands. There are tons of options out there to spice up your walk and burn those calories.
While we’re on the subject of weight loss, let’s talk about your digestive system. A healthy digestive system plays a big role in whether you gain or lose weight. Studies show that walking, especially after a meal, improves your digestion. Something else that goes along with weight loss is bowel movements, which are also greatly improved by walking regularly.
Gives You More Energy
It might sound crazy, but exercising- more specifically, going for a walk- can give you more energy. By getting up and moving your body you are increasing the flow of oxygen through your body which makes you feel more energized!
Burns Body Fat
Aside from just losing pounds, burning body fat is one of the biggest priorities for people looking to get into shape. Excess body fat often comes from a lack of exercise and movement. So, how do you get rid of body fat? Start moving, of course!
Even better, you can prevent belly fat from spreading or gaining fat by engaging in some brisk walking regularly. Sounds easy enough, right?
Walking reduces stress by boosting your endorphins, giving you more energy, and putting your mind in a relaxed meditative state. These benefits increase even more if you walk outside or with a friend.
Reduces Likelihood of Dementia
Research has shown that a person’s susceptibility to dementia is reduced by 40% just by walking 20 minutes a day. Scientists believe this is due to the stress-reducing benefits of walking as well as getting the blood flowing through the brain. Honestly, I don’t care how it works- I can definitely dedicate 20 minutes a day if it means I will have less of a chance to develop dementia.
It’s Easy On Your Joints
Walking is the perfect exercise for anybody suffering from joint pain or problems. It is very low impact so it will not put stress on your joints. This is good news for people recovering from an injury, people suffering from arthritis, and people who can’t do other exercises because they are overweight. As walking gets easier for them, these individuals may begin jogging or running to push their weight loss to the next level.
Strengthens Your Heart
Keeping your heart healthy should be at the top of your priority list, no matter your age. Luckily, frequent walking is an easy way (and one of the best ways) to ward off diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes.
Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can be extremely dangerous and damaging to your body, especially your heart. To avoid serious health issues like a stroke or heart attack you should incorporate walking into your daily routine. It doesn’t even have to be all at once. Breaking walking into separate times throughout the day is just as effective.
Osteoporosis is not a condition to be taken lightly. While there is not a cure for the weakening of bones due to osteoporosis, walking can strengthen your bones and stop further damage. Your bones are too important to not be working on them daily.
Exercising in any form takes care of our bodies in more ways than one. People who are more physically fit have higher levels of cognitive function and can think more clearly.
Sign me up!
I don’t know about you, but I can always use better sleep. Walking (really any exercise) helps you lower stress levels, work off your energy, and prepare your body for a good night's sleep. Studies show that people who walk at least 2,000 steps a day have a better quality of sleep than those who don’t.
Tones Your Legs, Butt, and Stomach
Ok, we’ve talked about the internal benefits of walking, now it’s time for the external. Walking is such a comprehensive exercise- it literally benefits your whole body! If you want to amp up your walk you can walk uphill, pump your arms while you walk, and tighten your muscles throughout your body as you walk. Stay consistent in your walking routine and you will see results!
Delays Aging Process
Calling this a benefit is an understatement! Walking will keep me younger looking for longer? Heck yes! Walking daily stimulates blood flow throughout your body- this includes your skin. The increased blood flow to your skin gives you a healthy glow, helps keep skin firm while reducing the appearance of saggy skin. Wow!
I just had to throw this one in here. Walking requires no extra equipment and can be done anywhere. There are no special accessories to buy, no certain location to go to. All you need is your body!
Helps You Live Longer
This benefit just makes sense. If you are taking care of yourself, it’s only natural that your body will repay you. A study showed that walking frequently can add up to 7.2 years to your life expectancy. The best part is, you don’t have to be running marathons to reap the benefits. You can add almost two years to your life just by walking 75 minutes a week- that averages out to just 11 minutes a day!
How Can I Get More Steps In?
After reading all of these amazing benefits that walking has to offer, you want to start doing more of it (and you should!). But how? Here is a short list of creative ways you can get more steps in throughout your day.
- Ditch the elevator and take the stairs
- Use the restroom, water fountain, break room, etc. that is farthest from your workspace.
- Don’t just sit at your desk all day. Get up and take small breaks throughout your day. Walk around the office, building, or even the block if you can.
- Get a treadmill desk and walk while you work.
- Take a walk around your neighborhood after dinner (this helps aid digestion too!).
- Explore your local park and nature trails (you’ll be surprised what’s out there!)
- Keep your dog in shape too! Take them for a walk, or a longer walk than usual
- Walk the shopping cart back to the store after loading your groceries into your car.
If you want to see how I can help you reach your fitness goals, contact me!