What makes you feel good, look good, and only requires a pair of tennis shoes? Walking. We know exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle, but finding motivation to get active before or after a long day can be tough. This is why walking is a great option. It may be a less intense form of exercise, but walking offers so many health benefits, from improved mental health to chronic disease prevention. Read on to see why taking a few minutes out of your day to walk could be the best thing for your body.
Improved mental health
Whether you walk outside in the fresh air or on a treadmill while listening to your favorite tunes, walking is proven to improve mental health. A study from the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that people suffering from depression who regularly walked 30-45 minutes for three months showed signs of improvement when their medication didn’t cure their symptoms. Walking can give you energy, decrease anxiety and stress, improve your ability to focus, and give you a break from your to-do list.
Walking has been shown to improve cholesterol and blood pressure levels, as well as prevent diabetes—all of which can contribute to heart disease and stroke. The American Heart Association recommends walking at a brisk pace for at least thirty minutes each day to receive these heart benefits. If you’re not quite in shape enough to do this, the American Heart Association suggests setting a fitness goal for walking a few minutes at a time and increasing this time as you get more in shape.
Dementia is a growing concern among adults, but exercise is one of the best and proven ways to prevent it. According to a review of Archives of Medical Research, exercising regularly can decrease your chances of dementia by 50 percent. Walking not only helps your current health but can also keep disorders like dementia under at bay.
Improved bones and muscles
Walking also helps strengthen your bones and decrease arthritis symptoms. It can reduce fractures and symptoms of osteoporosis by preventing the loss of bone mass. Muscles and joints also benefit from walking, as the movement helps distribute pressure and nutrients for a healthier range of motion and increased strength.
“Walking is one of the best aerobic activities a senior can do,” said Mark Walker, director of therapy at Orem Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing. “We encourage everybody to do at least 20 to 30 minutes of walking activities per day. Walk to the mailbox, walk down the aisles of the grocery store, or go to the rec center. Walking would be a great addition to a daily routine.”
Maintain a healthy weight by walking regularly. It’s a great way to burn extra calories and lose weight over time. Due to it being a low-intensity and social exercise, you’re more likely to be consistent with making time for it versus other more extreme workouts.
So, whether it’s your heart or your mind that you’re looking to strengthen, consider taking a daily walk. Your body will be thanking you for years to come.
This article was originally published by Orange County Register. It has been republished here with permission.