Walking…it’s simple. You just put one foot in front of the other. Since it is so simple, you probably wouldn’t think there would be much benefit to it. That’s the surprise. It has a tremendous effect on your health. The following are some of those health benefits to motivate you to do this simple but yet powerful exercise.
It Could Make You Live Longer
A new study found that people who walked 20 minutes a day lived three to seven years longer. It would be great to think it’s just the act of walking that would increase your longevity, but it’s really the health effects that are from walking that makes you live a few years more.
Decreases COPD Risk
Another study found that people who walked at least two miles a day were less likely to be hospitalized for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Actually, it cuts the risk of COPD by half.
Reduces the Risk of Stroke
Walking ever day can also reduce the risk of stroke for men over the age of 60. For men who walk an hour or two a day, their risk decreases by a third. What’s even more surprising is that it doesn’t matter how fast they walked – they just needed to walk.
Promotes Mental Health
Walking three hours a day can improve your mental health. When you walk, your body releases endorphins. This can be a natural painkiller. So, the more you walk, the more feel good hormones are released, which makes you feel even better.
Sleeping can be difficult as you age because of aches, pains, and other ailments. Walking can strengthen joints and bones, which can help with the aches and pains. It can also help people feel more tired, so they are ready for bed at night. This can lead to falling asleep faster and staying that way for longer.
Decreases Risk for Osteoporosis
When you walk, you force your body to stand up straight and move. This exercises your muscles and bones to keep them strong and even increase strength. This can prevent the onset of osteoporosis.
Helps Maintain Body Weight
While you may not burn many calories, you’re still burning them. This can be just enough to keep your weight stable. Just don’t think you can eat a lot and maintain your weight.
Lowers Blood Pressure
When you walk, your heart gets a workout, which keeps it strong. This is what will lower your blood pressure over time. The more you walk, the stronger your heart will be as you get older.
Decreases Stress Levels
Many people don’t realize how much walking can help with stress. Just getting away from a stressful situation or environment with a walk can lower all of the anxiety inside of you. With every step you take away, you’ll feel better and better. When you decide to go back, you’ll be much more likely to deal with it all because you’ve had a chance to process it all.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Walks
Walking is powerful, but the more you can do the better. Try to vary your pace as you walk. Speed walking and slowing down is great for your heart.
You may want to consider barefoot walking. Many people believe that there is an added benefit because your feet absorb free electrons from the Earth. Those electrons can decrease inflammation and kill off free radicals that can cause cancer. Other benefits include curing sleep apnea, helping PMS, and strengthening the immune system.
If you haven’t been walking, check with your doctor before starting this or any other exercise regimen. It’s important to know if you are healthy enough for it, and to ask your doctor for advice on how much you can do.
Always wear comfortable shoes when you go for your walks. Injuries often happen because of not having the right shoes, so this is important. You should also replace them every 6 months. They do wear out, and that can cause injury as well.
With all of these benefits of walking, there’s no reason not to start doing it. Ask some friends to join you to make it much more fun. Before you know it, you may just feel much better physically and mentally.