Walking give a number of benefits. Credit: PixlesWalking give a number of benefits. Credit: Pixles

The benefits of cardiovascular exercise are well known, but you don’t need to be a jogger or cyclist to reap the rewards. Walking is a low impact form of exercise that can enhance your immune system, burn fat and even boost your mood.

“Walking is a great way to get exercise that is manageable for most people,” says Vickie Armstrong, DNP, GNP-BC.

One of the most powerful ways to maintain a healthy weight, keep your joints strong, and live longer is also one of the simplest, no matter your age. The health benefits of walking are endless, and experts agree by adding walking to your daily routine, you can greatly improve your physical and mental health. What reasons you should take a walk regularly.

Walking. Credit: pixels
Walking. Credit: pixels

Improve your mood

A glass of wine or a square (or three) of dark chocolate can blunt the edge of a rough day—but going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy that offers the same perk, says Dr. Jampolis. In fact, research shows that just 10 minutes of walking can lift your spirits. Other recent research found walking during the COVID-19 pandemic could significantly improve mood. Plus, The effect may be amplified even more if you take a stroll through some greenery.

“Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility,” Dr. Jampolis says, especially when you’re going for a stroll through some greenery or soaking in a bit of sunlight. This can be particularly helpful during the colder months, when seasonal depression spikes.

Walking is releasing stress. Credit: Pixels
Walking is releasing stress. Credit: Pixels

Finally, when you make your walks social—you stride with, say, your partner, a neighbor, or a good friend—that interaction helps you feel connected, Dr. Jampolis says, which can make you feel happier.

Burn fat and build muscle

Your body uses both blood sugar and fat to fuel endurance activities such as walking, biking and running. Endurance exercise involves maintaining a moderate pace for an extended time period.

As you walk, your body will pull on circulating blood sugar from your last meal as well as body stores of fat to supply your muscles with energy for the work.

Using your leg muscles to move your legs and your arm muscles for balance and forward motion will break down muscle tissue. After the walk is completed, and when you are sleeping, the body will repair that muscle and rebuild it to be even stronger.

Walking release anxiety. Credit: Pixels
Walking release anxiety. Credit: Pixels

Walking boost mood and lower stress 

Walking reduces circulating stress hormones, like cortisol, that increase hunger and fat storage, impair digestion and interfere with brain function. According to a study published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, a 20-minute walk outside in nature reduced stress hormones significantly among study participants.

Brisk walking increases happiness chemicals known as endorphins and increases oxygen to the brain. Not surprisingly, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry found that walking and running decreased the odds of becoming depressed.

Walking to view the landscape. Credit: Pixels
Walking to view the landscape. Credit: Pixels

It’s a Great Way to Enjoy the Weather

I live in Northern Canada, where summers are short and oh so sweet. I just can’t wait to get outside, and while I haven’t figured out how to be able to spend all day on a blanket at the park, walking somewhere gives me a great excuse to savor a few sweet moments of sunshine. I have nothing against the other seasons. I love rainy spring walks, and crisp fall walks. I even love bundling up for an icy winter walk, especially late at night. Every season (and day, for that matter) has its moments. Walking gives you a chance to soak them up.

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By Aussa

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