1. Burn Calories
Walking can help you burn calories. Burning calories can help you maintain or lose weight. Calories burning further ensures your blood vessels stay healthier and lowers your risk of cardiovascular diseases. It protects you from the illnesses like diabetes and helps you control the condition if you already have it. It improves your mood and lowers the stress and feeling of anxiety. Your actual calorie burn will depend on several factors, including:
- walking speed
- distance covered
- terrain (you’ll burn more calories walking uphill than you’ll burn on a flat surface)
- your weight
2. Improve Circulation
Walking wards off heart disease brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and strengthens the heart. Post-menopausal women who walk just one to two miles a day can lower their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their risk of stroke by 20%, and by 40% when they stepped up the pace, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston. Walking at least 30 minutesTrusted Source a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by about 19 percent trusted Source. And your risk may reduce even more when you increase the duration or distance you walk per day.
3. Slow down mental decline
A study of 6,000 women, ages 65 and older, performed by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. The women walking 2.5 miles per day had a 17% decline in memory, as opposed to a 25% decline in women who walked less than a half-mile per week.
4. Boosts immune function
Walking may reduce your risk of developing a cold or the flu.
One study tracked 1,000 adults during flu season. Those who walked at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes a day had 43 percent fewer sick days and fewer upper respiratory tract infections overall.
Their symptoms were also lessened if they did get sick. That was compared to adults in the study who were sedentary.
Try to get on a daily walk to experience these benefits. If you live in a cold climate, you can try to walk on a treadmill or around an indoor mall.
5. Eases joint pain
Walking can help protect the joints, including your knees and hips. That’s because it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints. Walking can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis, according to Michael A.
Walking may also provide benefits for people living with arthritis, such as reducing pain. And walking 5 to 6 miles a week may also help prevent arthritis. In fact, one study of post-menopausal women found that 30 minutes of walking each day reduced their risk of hip fractures by 40%.
6. Controls sugar and blood
Taking a short walk after eating may help lower your blood sugar. A small study found that taking a 15-minute walk three times a day (after breakfast, lunch, and dinner) improved blood sugar levels more than taking a 45-minute walk at another point during the day.
More research is needed to confirm these findings, though.
Consider making a post-meal walk a regular part of your routine. It can also help you fit exercise in throughout the day.
7. Boost your energy
Going for a walk when you’re tired may be a more effective energy boost than grabbing a cup of coffee.
Walking increases oxygen flow through the body. It can also increase levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Those are the hormones that help elevate energy levels.
8. Improve your mood
Walking can help your mental health. StudiesTrusted Source shows it can help reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. It can also boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal. Walking releases natural painkilling endorphins to the body – one of the emotional benefits of exercise. A California State University, Long Beach, study showed that the more steps people took during the day, the better their moods were.
To experience these benefits, aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate-intensity exercises three days a week. You can also break it up into three 10-minute walks.
9. Extend your life
Walking at a faster pace could extend your life. Researchers found that walking at an average pace compared to a slow pace resulted in a 20 percent reduced risk of overall death. Research finds that people who exercise regularly in their fifties and sixties are 35% less likely to die over the next eight years than their non-walking counterparts.
But walking at a brisk or fast pace (at least 4 miles per hour) reduced the risk by 24 percent. The study looked at the association of walking at a faster pace with factors like overall causes of death, cardiovascular disease, and death from cancer.
10. Creative thinking
Walking may help clear your head and help you think creatively.
A study that included four experiments compared people trying to think of new ideas while they were walking or sitting. Researchers found participants did better while walking, particularly while walking outdoors.
The researchers concluded that walking opens up a free flow of ideas and is a simple way to increase creativity and get physical activity at the same time.
Try to initiate a walking meeting with your colleagues the next time you’re stuck on a problem at work.