You’ve probably have heard a lot of talk about the benefits of walking to keep the body healthy. This is a low-impact exercising that can be performed by anyone and has minimal risk of injury and, yet, it keeps being praised. So, do you actually know what those benefits are or why simple steps can have a such a big impact?
Health at every step: the benefits of walking daily
Walking is a low-impact exercise. So low, that most times it’s referred to as an activity rather than an exercise. With something so soft, you would expect simple benefits too, but prepare to be surprised.
Easy as it might be, the benefits of walking are impressive.
Prevents, treats and controls diabetes
Strange as it may seem, one of the direct benefits of walking every day is controlling diabetes through its effect over the insulin levels.
According to a research from 2012 exercising is the most effective way to prevent and control type 2 diabetes. In just a couple of years, exercising daily can decrease the risk of this disease in over 50%.
However, simply walking your daily routine is also beneficial. Walking 30 minutes every day, even if it is just doing the shopping or cleaning the house, is already positive. The goal is for you not to stop and keep moving during that period.
Reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases
Walking daily, even if slowly, helps to lower blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
According to a study published in the Journal of American Geriatrics Society, simply walking an average of 4h per day is enough to significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and extend life expectancy compared to those who only walk 1h or less.
This effect is also visible in postmenopausal women and it was confirmed in a different study from 2013 that analyzed the benefits of walking in adults from the US and Sweden. Regardless of any cultural differences, the walking proved always effective to reduce the blood pressure.
Walking can relax you, free your mind, help you appreciate your surroundings and be inspired by them. This is a somewhat logical benefit of this activity.
However, scientists proved that this is more than a perception, it indeed happens and the body reactions agree with this increase in creativity. For instance, scientists concluded in a study from 2014 that creative-thinking is more efficient while the person is on the move than when they are sitting.
Improves blood circulation
The simple movement of walking daily lowers blood pressure but it also improves blood circulation in general. This has several side benefits of its own.
Besides reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, it also means that oxygen and nutrients are faster and more efficient in getting into the body cells. This could also be one of the explanations for why creativity increases when walking since the brain gets a better supply of oxygen and glucose and works better.
Helps with varicose veins
Walking can help prevent varicose veins, but it also helps with their uncomfortable symptoms in case you already suffer from this problem.
The heart plays the biggest role in blood circulation as it is responsible to pump it to all body. Nevertheless, since the legs are extremities positioned below this organ, they have what doctors can “a second heart” down there. This is, in fact, a combination of muscles, veins, and valves that help pump the blood up again and back to the heart and lungs.
Therefore, walking not only improves blood circulation, it also works out the leg muscles and veins necessary for a continuous and smooth blood flow. This is valid also for pregnant women.
Supports a healthy weight
As stated before, one of the benefits of walking is helping to control the insulin levels, which in turn helps to treat and prevent type 2 diabetes.
However, this also has a slimming effect, particularly in the belly region, as the body processes insulin better.
Moreover, any type of physical activity increases the metabolism speed, making it burn fat faster to produce more energy. In the meantime, exercise will also be developing muscles and making them more resistant.
In the end, you will be losing weight progressively or at least maintaining it while developing muscles to better support the body.
Helps with depression
Depression is a serious condition that, as with any mental disorders, it’s hard to cope alone. If you suspect you suffer from depression you can take up strategies to deal with it, but probably none will be as effective as walking.
In a study published in 2004, scientists analyzed the results of previous researches regarding the connection between walking and depression. Their conclusion was the same as the one of every study analyzed: walking not only eases the symptoms of depression, it can eliminate them completely.
Get ready to start!
Starting a new habit can be hard or exciting depending on the person. Whatever the case, walking is probably one of the easiest exercises to take over at any age without a significant risk of giving up the next day.
Regardless, check the video below to learn 3 essential tips for you to start this new routine and reduce the chances of giving up.