It doesn’t matter how long you walk, how far you walk, or even how fast you walk; as long as you walk, you get to enjoy the health benefits that come with it. All you need are a pair of comfortable walking shoes and you’re all set. Here are 5 health benefits of walking that may surprise you:
- IMPROVES CIRCULATION
When you walk, your heart rate goes up and your blood pressure goes down – strengthening your heart in the process. A study by the Harvard School of Public Health showed that women who walk at least 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%!
- STRENGTHENS YOUR MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM
Our joints get their nutrition from joint fluid produced when we’re moving. The repetitive low impact on the cartilage brings oxygen and nutrients into these areas. Continuous movement encourages production of lubricants which help to strengthen both your joints and muscles around the joints. Existing joint problems are also alleviated with an increased range of movement due to the shift in weight from joints to muscles.
- BOOSTS YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM
Walking increases the amount of white blood cells in your system, and also helps them to perform more effectively with increased blood flow and strengthened antibodies. A study of over 1000 men and women found that those who walked for at least 20 minutes daily, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. If they did fall sick, their recovery rate was faster with milder symptoms!
- INCREASES ENERGY LEVELS
Ever wondered why you feel better emotionally after a stroll in the park? That’s because endorphins are released when you walk which reduces stress and lightens your mood. On top of that, walking regularly also improves your quality of sleep, enabling you to have better clarity and focus during the day.
- PREVENTS MENTAL DECLINE
Regular walking increases blood flow to the brain which helps stall cognitive decline, and reduces the risk of Alzhiemer’s. A study by the University of California showed a lower age-related memory loss in those who walked regularly.
Walking is probably one of the easiest exercises to get started. It’s free and it’s easy on the joints – what’s not to like? Grab a pair of your most comfortable walking shoes and get walking! Start slow and build up your walking routine gradually – increasing the distance and pace as you deem fit!