Walking is an amazing form of exercise. It’s totally free, requires little effort and places almost no stress on your joints. Walking is beneficial for both your physical health and your mental well-being.
Here are the 10 most important reasons you should aim to walk 30 minutes every day:
1 Walking calms your mind
The Journal of psychiatric research published the results of a study on 50 individuals suffering from major depression. It showed that walking 30 to 45 minutes a day, five days a week improved their conditions significantly.
If walking improves depression symptoms in patients with MDD just imagine how easily it could help you cope with just feeling down or exhausted.
Walking also improves your overall mental well-being by reducing stress and releasing endorphins. It stimulates not only the production of chemicals responsible for brain health but also the growth and survival of neural blood vessels and cells.
2 back pain relief
Walking can be a real lifesaver for those who experience back pain during more challenging high-impact exercises. Since it’s a low-impact activity it won’t cause more pain or discomfort like running or resistance training would.
Walking contributes to better blood circulation within the spinal structures pumping important nutrients into the soft tissues. This helps improve posture and flexibility, both of which are vital for a healthy spine.
As you walk you are making your spine more stable and strengthening the muscles that keep your body upright.
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3 Walking helps you lose weight
Muscle tone and weight loss are also totally achievable through the simple act of walking. In fact just 10,000 steps a day can be just as effective as a full-blown workout at the gym, especially if you add some intervals or uphill walking.
Just remember to use correct form though. Keep your spine straight, bend your elbows at a 90 degree angle, swing your arms and stabilize your pelvis.
Find your optimal pace but don’t break out into a jog. This sort of speed walking is low-impact and doesn’t require any recovery time. This means no sore muscles to keep you from getting out and walking the next day.
4 Walking strengthens your bones and joints
Walking can provide more joint mobility, prevent the loss of bone density and even reduce the risk of fractures. The Arthritis Foundation recommends at least 30 minutes of moderate walking per day to reduce pain, stiffness and inflammation in the joints.
Building strong bones will help you prevent osteoporosis and reduce bone loss.
5 Walking improves digestion
Not only does half an hour of walking every day lower the risk of developing colon cancer but it also improves digestion and regulates bowel movements. This is good news for those who suffer from chronic constipation.
A study of over 150 thousand men and women shows that walking also helps the chances of surviving colon cancer even after it’s already been diagnosed.
Tip: Also try this simple drink in the morning to improve your digestion, kickstart your metabolism and detoxify your body.
6 Walking Helps prevent diabetes
It may sound hard to believe, but walking for exercise is a surprisingly more effective way to prevent diabetes than running.
In a Duke University study over a six-month trial period a group of frequent walkers demonstrated a 6 times greater improvement in glucose tolerance or blood sugar absorption than a group of runners.
More efficient use of blood sugar allows your pancreas to produce less insulin giving it a much-needed rest to gather strength. This also helps prevent insulin resistance, which is often a forerunner of diabetes.
7 Walking increases lung volume
Walking is an aerobic exercise. This means that it increases oxygen flow in the bloodstream and helps eliminate toxins and wastes. In short, it’s great for your lungs. Because of better quality and deeper breathing some symptoms associated with lung disease can show significant improvement.
The stress and medication that lung disease brings with it weaken the immune system of those suffering from it. We all know that spending time outdoors is a great immunity booster. Yet another great reason to start walking every day.
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8: Walking helps prevent heart disease
You’ve probably heard that running makes your heart stronger, but according to the American Heart Association walking is no less effective than running when it comes to the prevention of heart disease and stroke.
A daily half-hour walk helps avoid serious problems like coronary heart disease by lowering high blood pressure and cholesterol levels and improving blood circulation.
9 Walking improves eyesight
It might sound surprising, but moving your legs helps your eyes. Walking can help fight glaucoma by relieving eye pressure. Glaucoma develops when too much fluid builds up inside the eye increasing the eye-pressure.
The glaucoma Research Foundation recommends walking as one of the best ways to reduce the risk of developing glaucoma and even relieving its symptoms.
Walking is also good for eyesight in general. Both low and high intensity exercise strengthens and stimulates the visual cortex, the part of the brain that processes the images our eyes send to it so get on the road to improve vision and protect your eyes now from potential problems in the future.
10 Walking has brain boosting effect
Research shows that low impact aerobic exercises like walking prevent the early onset of dementia and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Alzheimer’s affects over 35 million people around the world and scientists predict that this number will double in the next 20 years.
People who are physically active throughout their life are much less prone to this disease than those who have a more sedentary lifestyle. That’s because they have more volume in their hippocampus the part of the brain responsible for verbal memory and learning.