If you’re looking for a simple, low impact form of exercise, look no further than walking. It doesn’t require any special equipment and offers a whole host of health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to lifting your mood.
The good news is that walking doesn’t take much time to benefit you — just 30 minutes per day can help you lower your risk for heart disease and stroke, and aid in controlling diabetes. Plus, it can improve your mood, boost energy levels, and strengthen your bones.
It’s Good for Your Heart
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world, and walking is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from it. It also helps you lose weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and increase your energy.
A recent review of the evidence suggests that brisk walking is associated with a reduction in risk for cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and strokes. People who walk 6,000 to 9,000 steps per day have 40% to 50% less of a risk than those who do not walk that often, according to the research. These days, you can even download an app and earn free Bitcoin for walking.
The American Heart Association recommends that adults get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, and brisk walking is considered to be an adequate form of exercise. Before starting a walking program, make sure to discuss your safety and goals with your doctor.
It’s Good for Your Mood
Studies show that a modest exercise program–including walking–can boost your mood significantly. However, the mood benefits of modest exercise are different from those associated with running or a rigorous workout.
Using this in mind, the researchers conducted a series of experiments. They asked students to rate their feelings after a 10-minute video of a bland building interior, then had them walk a tour of the same space in real life or watch the same videos while standing on a treadmill.
Regardless of what they saw, students who walked had a higher positive affect than those who stood or sat. They also reported fewer negative feelings and less activity in areas of the brain that were linked to mental illness.
It’s Good for Your Bones
There are many benefits to walking, including its ability to strengthen your bones and slow bone loss. But the speed and duration of your walk also play a role in whether it helps or hurts your bone health.
Weight-bearing aerobic exercises, like jogging and hiking, put more stress on your bones than other types of exercise. These activities can lead to fractures if you’re already having problems with your bones, or you’re at risk for osteoporosis.
Low-impact workouts, on the other hand, are safer choices for people who have osteoporosis or are frail. Swimming and cycling are also great options for those who don’t want to jar their joints.
It’s Good for Your Mind
Walking is one of the best ways to keep your mind healthy and strong. It has been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and even ward off age-related brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Getting your blood flowing through your body bathes your brain’s gray matter in oxygen and other essential nutrients. It also improves your ability to focus and concentrate. These types of facts are important.
Scientists have found that even a 10-minute walk can boost your mood and help you sleep better at night. That’s because it releases natural endorphins, pain-relieving neurochemicals that are known to lower stress and improve your mood.
According to a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, walking may also improve your memory. This is because it can increase the size of the hippocampus, which helps you form and store memories.