We all love a nice walk, don’t we? Especially since the recent lockdowns, walking has become a daily addiction for many people.
Aside from the great fun it involves, walking every day has a surprising number of health benefits. Check them out below and make time in your schedule for a short walk every day!
Hit Your Health Goals
The NHS recommends a minimum of 150 minutes of exercise every week. The good news is, they say that a brisk walk contributes to hitting this goal!
The 150-minutes goal helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and improves your overall health.
The key to making sure your walk is having a positive effect on your health is the word ‘brisk’. There are many benefits to all kinds of walks, but to count as exercise, you’ll be needing to walk at a pace of about 3 miles an hour.
According to Arthritis.org, walking can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis. Studies from this article have also shown that daily walks can reduce the occurrence of hip fractures by about 40%.
If you’re young and healthy, you might be tempted to disregard this point. But trust us, the key to a healthy lifestyle is exactly that: incorporating activity into your everyday life. So, get started now!
Regular walking activity has also been linked to improved circulation. It helps with reducing blood pressure, increasing your heart rate, and overall strengthening your heart. This is why walking is linked to reduced risks of stroke.
This is a topic which thankfully received more attention in the media during the Covid lockdowns, and for very good reason. Walking can be instrumental in achieving or maintaining stable mental health and a good mood.
As a form of exercise, walking releases endorphins which trigger a happy feeling. Endorphins are also responsible for lowering levels of stress, anxiety, and in some cases, moderate depression.
Being in nature can also trigger the above responses, so be sure to enjoy the outdoors and get some sunshine on your walk if you can.
Walking would win awards for being one of the most accessible sports, if there was such a thing.
While many physical activities require some degree of financial commitment, walking is obviously free and is a great way to see the sights in your area (also for free!).
In another sense, walking is an easily adaptable activity. The choice of terrain is up to you, so you can determine what kind of ground you’ll be walking on (grass vs concrete), the environment you’ll be in (town vs countryside), and other factors such as levels of incline.
Basically, when it comes to walking, you do you!
According to Harvard researchers, a daily brisk walk can cut in half 32 obesity-promoting genes. This is on top of the regular benefits you’d get from walking as a physical activity!
That’s not all…in a separate study from the University of Exeter, studies have shown that a short walk can drastically reduce sugar cravings. This was based on a study of a 15-minute walk, which is excellent news for everyone who isn’t in the mood for an hour-long walk every time they want to reach for the Digestives (such as the author of this blog).
Last but not least: walking regularly is linked to a better quality of sleep. Some studies are showing that walking can help to reduce the effects of insomnia. Others are showing that walking can boost your melatonin levels, which helps you to fall asleep faster and then sleep more soundly.
For more sleep tips, check out our blog here.
What are you waiting for? It’s time for a walk!