Walking. It gets a bad rap. The idea of early morning mall walkers seems to resonate with many when the concept of walking comes up. Some call walking a cop out. Others see it as a waste of gym time.
It may not be as physically demanding as running or as strenuous as biking, but never underestimate the power of walking. Walking may not be seen as glamorous as other forms of physical activity, nor is it valued as a sport however there are many benefits to walking. An average person can burn up to 250 calories an hour by walking at a moderate pace. Walking can easily be modified and applied to any activity level. And since not much is needed in terms of equipment, it can be integrated into most lifestyles fairly easily.
Whether it boosts your physical, mental, or financial health, here are seven benefits to taking a stroll:
- It’s Free. You can pay $100’s a month on yoga, CrossFit, or a fancy schmancy gym membership, or you can walk for free. Walking for the win! When it comes to financial health, walking is definitely the economical choice. There is virtually no cost to taking a walk around the neighborhood or at a local park. There are even free walking clubs in many cities around the world. Walking may be one of the cheapest ways to get more physical activity into your daily life.
- You Can do it Anywhere. Keep a pair of shoes in the car or at work and you will always be ready to go. There is no special equipment or skills to learn. Just lace up, pump your arms, and place one foot in front of the other. Walking can happen virtually anywhere: walk indoors if the weather is not cooperating, at the park, out in nature. As long as there is space, there is an opportunity to walk.
- Walk Away the Tension. Walking increases endorphins (hormones that regulate pain) by bringing about euphoria which leaves you happy and stress free. No wonder taking a stroll feels so good when you are stressed.
- Increases Energy. You may think that exerting more energy may leave you exhausted, but that is not always true. Low-intensity exercise, such as walking can increase energy and lower fatigue. So next time you feel rundown and drained, go for a walk and return recharged and energized.
- Get the Brain Exercising. Ever go on a walk to solve a problem? You are on to something. Walking ignites the right side of the brain that handles creativity, causing an increase in new ideas and ways of thinking. The act of walking, whether outdoors or on a treadmill boosts cognitive function. Next time writers block kicks in, trek outside and get those creative juices flowing.
- Joint Support. Not only is walking easier on the joints than other forms of exercise, but walking can help improve joint cartilage. Movement sends oxygen and nutrients into the joint area, building a cushion around the joints.
- Boosts Immune System. Physical activity can help boost the immune system in a few different ways. For starters, it can cause white blood cells to circulate faster, wiping out infections quicker. Partaking in physical activity can help with sleep, which is primetime for cell repair and immunity recharge. It can also slow down the release of stress hormones, causing a lower risk of illnesses to develop (stress can cause the body to lower its defenses).