Many people struggle to find a form of exercise that they enjoy, that isn’t too difficult, or that they can fit into their schedule. But the best exercise is also something incredibly simple, and you’re already doing it every day! All you need is a decent pair of shoes, and you can start walking your way to improved health and fitness.
Why is walking so great? Check on these facts.
It’s easy. You learned to walk when you were about one year old, and you don’t need to do anything differently in order to reap the health benefits of walking. If you want, you can carry light hand weights, strap weights to your legs, push a stroller, or incorporate hills into your route. But none of these are necessary to get a good workout from walking.
It’s low impact. How many people are injured by walking? Almost none, unless you count slipping and falling on ice. Walking doesn’t stress your joints the way higher-impact exercises can. The last thing you want is to injure yourself and be forced to rest for weeks or months while you recuperate. If you choose walking as your primary exercise, you probably won’t ever have to interrupt your routine due to injuries.
It burns calories. The average person burns around 100 calories per mile walked, and most of us can walk several miles per hour. Combined with a healthy, low-calorie diet, a daily walk can help you lose weight.
It’s linked to various health benefits. According to the Stroke Association, a brisk 30-minute walk every day can reduce risk of stroke by 27 percent. Regular walking also reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes by 60 percent, and lowers your risk of colon or breast cancer by 20 percent. Walking can even prevent brain shrinkage and prevent dementia as you age.
You can do it anywhere. You don’t need a special gym membership to go for a walk. You can walk in your neighborhood, on the streets around your office building, on the beach, in the park, or even in a shopping mall.
If you walk outdoors, you will get your vitamin D. Often we focus on gym-related exercises, forgetting that we also need to spend some time outdoors. Exposure to the sun boost vitamin D levels, which are important for immune function and bone health.
Walking boosts your mood. If you suffer from mild or moderate depression, a brisk walk can serve as a quick fix to boost your mood. The activity releases endorphins that help to relieve stress and reduce anxiety. If you’re going through a rough time in life, or just generally suffer from low mood on a regular basis, daily walks should be a part of your feel-good repertoire.