When was the last time you went for a stroll through the neighborhood? You’ll be amazed at how relaxing it is and how good you’ll feel afterward. There are many benefits of daily walking for both your physical and mental self. Walking is something almost everyone can do, unlike distance running, which can be traumatic on joints and even your heart. No matter how old you are or how out of shape, you’ll get benefits. If you can’t walk a block, walk as far as you can and build on that.
You’ll get healthy benefits for your heart.
Walking is a mild aerobic activity. If you’re sedentary, many scientists believe it’s one of the best exercises you can do, at least if you’re starting a program of exercise. It can improve your fitness and reduce the potential for cardiovascular disease according to studies, which showed that just walking four hours a week or more can significantly reduce the potential for stroke and heart disease.
Obesity is the leading cause of preventable deaths.
Walking can help you lose weight. One study instructed obese people to walk to their destinations, rather than take a bus or driving. After just eight weeks over 50% lost weight and the average weight loss for the group was five pounds. One man, who presently runs marathons, was so grossly obese that the doctors told him he would die within the year unless he lost that weight. He started walking. At first, he could only make it to the end of his sidewalk, then to the end of the block and finally, he managed to walk for miles. As he lost weight, he started walking faster and then began to run. Today, years later, he’s fit and trim and it all started with that first step.
Walking is brain healthy.
Walking improves your circulation and by doing that, can boost your brain health. It increases the oxygen and glucose to your brain, while also lowering your body’s LDL—bad cholesterol—level. That’s the type of cholesterol that can increase the risk of stroke by clogging your arteries. Newer research shows that improving diet and daily exercise, such as walking, can help slow the development of Alzheimer’s, plus reduce depression.
- Walking improves digestion, boosts immune function, helps prevent diabetes by regulating glucose levels plus aiding in weight loss and reduce the risk of arthritis.
- One study that asked participants with high blood pressure to walk 10,000 steps each day. Those that followed with dedication lowered their blood pressure significantly.
- You’ll reduce your risk of cancer when you walk regularly, but if you do develop cancer and undergo chemotherapy, walking can reduce the side effects.
- Walking can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, like any weight bearing exercise. As with other weight bearing exercises, it may even reverse bone loss and increase bone density.
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