The Science of Walking: 10 Benefits You’ve Never Realized

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Almost everybody spends at least some time each day walking. Whether it’s to the bathroom, to your car, or just a casual afternoon stroll, walking is one of foundations of your daily life. Although we celebrate our first steps as one of the biggest and earliest milestones in life, we tend to forget about walking soon after.

Well, while most people assume there’s no need to think about walking as a thing besides something you do, like breathing, walking can be a lot more valuable than assumed. In addition to walking around to take care of your daily tasks and activities, walking for the sake of walking each day has many benefits you might not have realized.

Maybe you already spend 30-40 minutes taking a nice, leisurely stroll every day, but if you don’t, here are 10 benefits of doing so that might make you reconsider your daily schedule:

1.    It makes you feel better about things in general.

Walking has been shown in multiple studies to increase your mood for at least a couple hours, and for many people, the rest of the day. Maybe it’s the fresh air, or maybe it’s the calming self-reflection during the walk. Either way, you can lift your mood every day and over time just by taking a nice stroll once a day.

2.    Walking can help strengthen and tone your muscles.

This is especially true if you stretch before and after your walk, but even just moving around and working your core muscles during a daily walk can do quite a bit for you. You can even pump your arms a bit to tone your arm muscles. Of course, how much of an effect you see will correlate with how fast you’re walking, how far, and for how long.

3.    You can improve your bone and joint health by walking every day.

Studies have shown that women who walk daily have a decreased risk of suffering from a hip fracture later in life. Just by walking your body will do a better job of circulating oxygen and nutrients to your bones, joints, cartilage, etc., which can help you decrease the rate of deterioration in such areas.

4.    Walking can improve your blood circulation.

Your blood circulation is a very important factor to many health aspects. Walking will make sure your body is circulating blood throughout the day, increasing your overall blood circulation from day to day. This can have huge effects on your health as studies have even indicated that walking every day can decrease your risk of heart disease later in life.

5.    Walking can help you sleep better at night.

What’s better than an amazing night of sleep after a day of hard work? For most people, not much. Sleeping helps you get a better night of sleep and helps you fall asleep more easily. Studies have shown that taking daily walks helped individuals better manage the effects of insomnia.

6.    Walking can not only help you prevent weight gain, but it can even help with weight loss.

Workouts can be difficult to manage and keep in your schedule due to things like decreased motivation and overall inconvenience. Luckily, walking is easier to manage and much more accessible as an activity, and walking 30 minutes can burn over 200 calories. A daily walk can help you shed pounds over time and maintain your healthy weight. When learning how to lose weight, you don’t need to think intense exercise only.

7.    Walking helps clear your mind and improve your mental health.

Whether it’s for a study break, a walk to calm your emotions, or just a leisurely stroll, walks have been known to help people clear their minds. Studies have also shown that walking can increase your memory and just keep your mind healthier throughout life. It might be the blood circulation, or just the meditative qualities that help people focus. Either way, walking is good for the mind.

8.    You can improve your balance and coordination by walking daily.

Using your body every day for a little can have a huge impact on your body’s coordination and balance, even if it’s just for a brisk walk. This can help you when it comes to other exercises or workouts, or maybe it can help you when it comes to sportier activities. Regardless, coordination and balance are two things that go a very long way for people in so many different aspects of daily life.

9.    Walking prevents extreme dips and waves of energy throughout the day.

Keeping your body away, functioning, and moving during the day without working it too hard can have amazing effects on your daily energy levels. Walking has been shown to be a very good regulator for your blood sugar, especially if you take 3 walks every day for 15 minutes about 10-15 minutes after each major meal.

10. Walking can help you do more during your life for longer.

Many, many studies have shown that walking can be linked to longer life spans, decreased risks of major diseases such as cancers, and just better bodily performance during elderly years. Walking every day for a little can help you live life like your young when most people expect you to be in a nursing home. Why not give yourself that option?

At the end of the day, walking is one of the easiest and simplest ways to maintain your health. Not only does walking have the benefits listed above, but it gets you to experience the world outside of your house and take in some fresh air. Walking can even help your relationships stay strong. Maybe you’re not a runner, or you hate swimming and getting wet, or you just can’t afford yoga or Zumba classes. Whatever it may be, walking can be a great alternative for staying healthy and lively, so try taking a walk every morning or catching a sunset during a nice evening stroll. Walking can really do wonders for you.

By Russell McBurnie

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