Take a Walk for Your Mind and BodyCheckable Health
Ahh, walks. Who doesn’t feel much better and refreshed after a walk? Even if it’s just for 20 minutes, there are so many benefits. Walking is free and easy to fit into your daily routines. During your lunch hour, eat lunch and add a walk into your routine, or first thing in the morning, start your day with a walk. We know you heard there are countless benefits of exercising, but what about just a simple walk? The benefits of walking for your mind and body are plentiful. From lowering cholesterol to brain clarity, the pros will make you want to incorporate walks into your health routine.
Top 10 Benefits of Taking a Walk
- Burn calories! Walking can help you burn calories which will help maintain or lose weight and body fat. The number of calories you burn depends on walking speed, distance covered, terrain (uphill vs. flat), and weight.
- It helps tame a sweet tooth. A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb chocolate cravings and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of various sugary snacks. To help maintain your clean diet, get your daily steps in to help with sugar cravings.
Strengthens the heart. According to the American Heart Association, walking at least
30 minutesa day, five days a week, can reduce your risk for coronary heart disease by about 19 percent, as well as help manage high blood pressure and strokes.Your risk may reduce even more when you increase the duration or distance you walk daily.
- It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer. Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study showed that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.
- Helps ease joint pain. Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints – especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis – by lubricating and strengthening the muscles that support them.
- Immunity booster. Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least five days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was shorter, and their symptoms were milder.
- Energy Booster. 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, the hormones that help elevate energy levels.
Improves mood. Walking is not just good for physical health but mental health as well.
Studiesshow walking helps reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. It can also boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal. To experience these benefits, aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking at least three days a week. You can also break it up into three 10-minute walks.
- Restful sleep. Light to moderate aerobic exercise, like walking, increases the amount of slow-wave sleep you get. Slow-wave sleep refers to deep sleep, where the brain and body have a chance to rejuvenate.
- It's FUN! Walking is one of the only aerobic exercises that you can do with your dog, your friends, or alone. You can also listen to good tunes, a podcast, an audiobook, or just chat on the phone. A great way to multitask.
At Checkable Health, we care about your overall well-being and taking care of yourself. If you want to avoid a gym, go for a walk instead! It’s easy and free. Plus, you can’t complain about fresh air. Grab your favorite sneakers and some headphones, and get out for a stroll! Your mind and body will thank you.
Written by Ali Kessler
Life is too short to sit in a doctor’s office
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