Something as easy as putting one foot in front of the other can bring many benefits to your physical and mental health. Don't know what they are? Here's 7 of them.
- Your body’s circulation improves. As you already may or may not know, lack of good circulation in your body can lead to life threatening diseases such as Atherosclerosis and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). But what if I told you that walking can help reduce your chances of getting such diseases? As we walk, blood carries oxygen to our muscles, and your muscles learn to use oxygen more efficiently, which leads to better and stronger blood flow all throughout your body.
- Your body gets rid of excess fat. Did you know that a brisk 30 minute walk at a pace of 4 mph can help you burn up to 200 calories? That’s equivalent to a cheeseburger from your local fast food restaurant and or one glazed donut! Our bodies burn fat for energy, and as we increase the intensity of our walking pace, our body continues to get rid of those excess calories. So the more we choose to walk, the more often calories burned and pounds dropped.
- Your bones get stronger. By age 30, our bones mass peaks and our bones begin to weaken. If we choose to not exercise or stay active, our bones will continue to thin, leading to conditions like osteoporosis. When we walk, the force we exude tugs on our muscles which, in turn, stimulates the formation of bone cells allowing our bones to maintain a strong and healthy status.
- Your body get better sleep. Take a walk during your day and say goodbye to counting sheep. According to the National Sleep Foundation, when we walk, our body temperature rises and then falls after completion. This drop in temperature helps promote falling asleep and also decreases the time your body takes to actually fall asleep.
- Your heart gets stronger. Our heart is just like our muscles; the more you use it, the stronger it gets. When we choose a simple physical activity like walking, not only does our heart rate increase but also the blood distribution to your legs, body and cells. As you continue to walk, your heart will get stronger and pump more blood with each heartbeat. Pretty soon, the time it takes for your body to fatigue will also increase, meaning that your body will be able to endure longer increments of high-pace activity.
- Your chance of getting Alzheimer’s disease decreases. According to a new study from researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, walking at least six miles a week may protect brain size and preserve memory. When we walk, especially through a familiar path, our brain's memory circuits are strengthened. As such, walking may also slow the decline of Alzheimer's in patients.
- You get happier. Walking has also proven to have an impact on our overall mood. How? Well, when walk, our body releases “feel good” hormones called endorphins. When endorphins are released, they act as natural anti-depressants that effectively promote relaxation and even relieve pain. So instead of sitting in your car for hours on end because of traffic, choose to incorporate some walking into your daily commute, and watch as your outlook on daily stresses becomes a bit more optimistic.