As the weather turns warmer, learn the importance of getting in your daily steps.
As many parts of the country leave snow and cold behind in exchange for springtime warmth and budding flowers, taking a brisk stroll is about to become a pleasurable way to stay healthy. The American Heart Association noted that going for a walk is one of the most popular forms of exercise because, for most people, it’s safe, easy, and low-cost. Of course, you’ll want to check with your doctor before beginning any new exercise routine.
Some of the health benefits of walking that you can expect include:
- Builds stronger muscles
- Lifts your spirits
- Improves circulation
- Boosts your metabolism
- Helps you sleep better
- Strengthens your bones
- Keeps you mentally sharp
- Adds years to your life
Below, find out more about walking your way to a healthy lifestyle.
1. Builds stronger muscles
Your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and your abdominal muscles (to a lesser extent) are all engaged during a walk. You can even add arms into the mix by carrying walking poles or small weights while you’re strolling around. Stronger muscles can lead to better balance and coordination, thanks to improved stability in your body.
2. Lifts your spirits
Walking for just 12 minutes a day, ideally outdoors in nature and fresh air, is shown to have significant mood-boosting effects. Some evidence indicates that regular walks can help boost and maintain your mood to keep you feeling like your best self.
3. Helps your heart and lowers blood pressure
The heart gets plenty of benefits from walking, especially if your pace is brisk enough to increase your heart rate. Cardiovascular exercise like walking helps strengthen the heart, lower blood pressure, and improve circulation.
Discover more heart health tips to show your ticker some love here.
4. Boosts your metabolism
Regular exercise is a vital part of maintaining a healthy weight. When your heart rate is up during a walk or another activity, you’re burning more calories which leads to more muscle mass that can boost your resting metabolism. That means you can keep burning calories long after your walk is over! Higher metabolism is a gift that keeps on giving.
5. Helps you sleep better
Exercise has been shown to improve sleep quality and help you fall asleep more quickly. You may even find that about 30 minutes of moderate walking can improve your sleep the very same night. And when you’re regularly resting soundly, you can enjoy the many health benefits of sleep like help with focus and a strong immune system.
6. Strengthens your bones
Weight-bearing exercises including walking are an essential part of bone health. Strong bones can help reduce fracture risks and may even slow age-related declines in bone density. To get the maximum benefit, try gradually increasing your walk duration, pace, and stride length over time.
Find out more easy ways to boost bone strength here.
7. Keeps you mentally sharp
Remember to go for your walk, and your memory will thank you! Regular walkers were shown to have lower age-related memory decline. In a study of women over 65, those who walked five miles per week experienced 25% less memory decline than those who walked less than a half mile.
Try these memory games and puzzles for seniors for even more activities that can help keep your mind sharp.
8. Increases longevity
Our final health benefit of walking is related to longevity. When you make walking a habit, you may be able to enjoy lots of walking expeditions for many years to come. In fact, you could add up to 7 extra years to your lifespan with a routine!
Now is the time to put on those sneakers and enjoy the springtime weather! Whether you invite a friend or family member along so you both can enjoy these health benefits of walking or you head out on a solo mission, we wish you happy (walking) trails.
Learn more health and wellness tips for your life on our blog.