by Matt Weik
It seems so simple, right? I mean, how difficult is it to walk? You’ve been doing it for as long as you can remember. What could a daily walk really accomplish to be worth even talking about this? Well, a lot, actually. Don’t believe me? Keep reading.
Here are the cold, hard facts. You don’t need to lace up your kicks and start running in order to see health benefits. In fact, a calm stroll may be exactly what you’re looking for after a long day.
If you want to experience some pretty amazing benefits, set aside some time for a daily walk. Here are seven reasons why.
1. Promotes a Healthy Body Weight
You don’t need to take a daily walk that lasts hours and hours in order to see any sort of benefit. In fact, if you merely put aside 30 minutes, five days a week, you’ll be able to get in the recommended 150 minutes of exercise per week to help control your weight and aid in fat loss.
Find a pace that you are comfortable with and get outdoors. You can take a daily walk by yourself, with friends and family, or even with your dog — the choice is yours.
2. Reduces Stress
After a long day at work or school, you’re probably mentally exhausted. If you do nothing to unwind and destress, it will compound as the days pass. You need an outlet, and a daily walk can be incredibly beneficial.
Taking in some fresh air, allowing the endorphins to flow, it can all be accomplished through a daily walk. Lowering stress can help lower cortisol levels, which can aid in controlling hunger and reducing the body’s response to store body fat.
3. Enhances Mood
To piggyback off #2, if you’re stressed, your mood is probably not the best. You may be sad, angry, furious, upset — the list goes on and on. While some people will bury their emotions in food (risking the consequence of substantial weight gain if uncontrolled), a daily walk for as little as 12 minutes has been shown through research to help boost mood.
If you’re having a bad day at work, over your lunch break take a walk. Got home after work only to find your dog chewed up the couch? Take a 12-minute walk. Getting in a daily walk can help you feel more like yourself — without the need to reach for a Snickers bar.
4. Supports Mental Clarity
Has your morning been a complete disaster, and you can’t seem to get back in the right state of mind where you can be productive? It happens! While most will go through the rest of the day struggling, if they’d simply take a break to fit in a daily walk, they may find they’re able to regain their focus.
One study found that if you need some extra brainpower and cognition, take a walk. Even more profound is another piece of research that showed those who are regularly active each day were more creative and had better mental clarity and cognition.
5. Provides You with Energy
How many times has your alarm clock gone off, and you swore you only just fell asleep? You roll out of bed like the walking dead and stumble your way through your morning.
Want to know something crazy about a daily walk in this scenario? The University of Georgia found that those who were sleep-deprived but made the time to fit in a 10-minute walk were more energized following the walk than those who consumed 50mg of caffeine pills (supplements).
6. Improves Bone Health
As you age, you risk your bone health deteriorating. Over time, bone mineral density can decline, which can lead to breaks and fractures. If you take a daily walk, you can help limit the loss of bone mass (which was shown through looking at the hip joint).
In another study, engaging in a daily walk can help prevent fractures (such as the hip) by as much as 30%.
7. Lowers Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
Worried about your bloodwork? Has your doctor told you that you’d better start paying more attention to your health as your cholesterol and blood pressure aren’t great? There’s a way to help improve both without much effort at all — take a daily walk.
A six-year study found that walking can lower cholesterol and blood pressure while also reducing the risk of heart disease.
What is the moral of the story here? If you want to improve your health and life, make time to fit in a daily walk. It’s really that simple, and it doesn’t take up much time or effort!