Walking is a simple yet powerful way to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress and anxiety. The benefits of walking stem from the fact that it is a mild but equally effective physical exercise compared to rigorous gym routines. By taking routine walks, you improve your mental and physical health.
Some people rely on walking as their only physical exercise or cardio. It’s a wise choice because taking walks involves both the external and internal parts of the body. For me, I walk from my school gate to lecture theaters and sometimes back. It helps me stay awake and rejuvenated and maintains a good mood devoid of stress. In this article, I’d be dishing out some of the numerous benefits of walking.
9 Benefits of Walking You Shouldn’t Ignore
Burn calories and maintain weight
Walking is a physical exercise that works out the whole body. Like other physical exercises, it burns calories and keeps a healthy weight. It doesn’t take down excess weight all at once, but you would eventually notice your pants getting loose after a while. Walking is the perfect definition of slow and steady when it comes to shedding fat.
Regular walking can help lose belly fat and, as a result, improve your body’s response to insulin. If you’re thinking of losing weight through walking, make sure to pick a route that includes hills and a routine that alternates between fast and slow pace. These factors are essential to really stretch the muscles and give you that cardio effect of running or jogging. You can get a pedometer to measure your walks for a better outcome. About 10,000 steps a day will do the trick.
Mood enhancement and stress reduction
Research shows that just 10 minutes of walking per day could improve your mood and lift your spirit. Imagine having a long day, and everywhere you turn, there’s something annoying on the way, like traffic or a lose local dogs. Taking walks in a less crowded environment with trees and maybe water can significantly improve your mood.
Walking has a way of modifying the nervous system, decreasing anger and hostility, especially when taken through the greenery. You can do this with a friend or sibling. One of the benefits of walking with a partner apart from mood uplifting is that it enhances human connection, making you feel happier.
Walking also helps reduce stress. Every mindful step you take keeps you absorbed in your environment, and your brain subconsciously reduces natural stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. It’s a win for you as it also helps clear your head. After the walk, you’d feel more relaxed.
Read also: Stress management tips for Nigerians
Reduces the risk of chronic diseases and helps you live longer
One of the non-physical benefits of walking is that it can save you from chronic diseases and help you live longer. Every step you take lowers your blood pressure by a small degree. Imagine how an accumulation of a thousand steps will transform your life.
Walking increases the number of white blood cells circulating in your blood. These white blood cells, in turn, build your immune system, which helps you fight chronic diseases. People who take periodic walks have a record of living longer than those who don’t at all. The general belief is that the faster you walk, the more the risk of dying lowers. The benefits may come from the cardiorespiratory effect that healthy walks provide.
I know it sounds like it should be the opposite since walking is usually tiring. However, imagine having a sprain or muscle injury and choosing not to move until the pain goes away. From experience, you’d agree that the pain takes longer with that technique. The same principle applies to walking.
Walking helps alleviate pains in the joints caused by stiffness. It improves mobility and free flow of blood around the tensed area and helps strengthen the muscles surrounding it.
Additionally, walking helps increase the level of a specific type of brain chemical known as neurotransmitters. They allow your brain to function well, and a subtype of this chemical can help reduce pains. Walking also helps patients with arthritis, lower back pain, and other chronic musculoskeletal pains. It is a cheap, safe, and non-stressful treatment for some expensive health conditions.
It makes the heart happier and healthier
Healthy walks reduce the risk of cardiovascular arrests like heart attacks significantly. It is one of the benefits of walking that isn’t restricted to a particular pace. A moderate pace of about 2 miles per hour or more will have the same benefits. Generally, the longer and faster you walk, the greater the benefits and protection of your heart.
Walking boosts brain power
In addition to the already impressive benefits of walking is its ability to improve memory retention and regulated thinking. Some researchers say that walking briskly for one hour two to three times a week positively impacts your decision-making process. The justification of this theory is the increased flow of blood to the brain that occurs while walking, which means more oxygen and high brain activity.
It stimulates the digestive system
A regular walking routine helps stimulate the digestive system. This is because periodic walking greatly improves bowel movements. So the more you walk around, the better and faster your digestive system works.
Ever wondered why you get more brilliant ideas after taking a walk?
Here’s your answer.
Walking helps broaden your thoughts and provides solutions to that tricky problem better than sitting. It may not just be some scientific reactions in your body. When you step out and take walks, you have a higher chance of finding that million-dollar inspiration that has been missing for a while.
Read also: Benefits of a positive mindset as a Nigerian
If you work out regularly, you sleep better at night. In fact, some therapists recommend mild exercises and yoga moves before going to bed for the best results. Some adults who walk daily experienced a significant positive impact on the length and quality of their sleep. Walking also helps reduce pain and stress, which causes disturbance in sleep.
After going through this article on the benefits of walking, make sure to take regular walks, especially if you can’t work out. Going to a gym, hiking and jogging may seem tedious if you’re almost always having long days. The perfect solution to this is walking. You already walk. All you need to add is being intentional about your pace and the duration. Your immune system and muscles will thank you. Remember, it works slowly but steadily! Thanks for reading.
So, what do you think? Do you still prefer hardcore workouts to mild walking? Share your thoughts in the comment section.
- Mental health blogger