Walking on a regular basis is by far one of the simplest ways to get yourself moving daily. It's a fantastic way to give your body a cardio workout, and it has a host of healthy benefits for your mind, body and soul. Even if you have a busy lifestyle, walking just 2 hours each week - or about 15-20 minutes each day - can help to reduce your risk of disease and health issues.
Here are 8 benefits to keep in mind to help encourage you to go out for a walk:
Walking Is On Your Terms
There's virtually no place on the planet that you can't opt to walk - around your home, in an office stairwell, around the block - whatever you feel like! It technically also doesn't matter where you are in the world, you can always opt to go for a walk when it suits you. Need to head to the store or making a coffee run? Opt to walk there and back. On a call with a friend or family member? Put some earbuds in and walk while you talk!
Helps With Weight Management & Reduces Risk of Diabetes
When paired with a healthy diet, walking on a regular basis can help to promote weight loss. The more you walk, the more your body will respond to the changes that regular activity yields. This often results in a loss of inches and/or pounds, which in turn helps to reduce your risk of diabetes and obesity.
Helps You Live Longer
A study published by Harvard University showed that 30 minutes of brisk walking reduces risk of developing type 2 diabetes by an impactful 30%, and that gentle exercise like walking can cut the risk of an early death by nearly 20%, even if introduced only once a week.
Provides Opportunity for Group Activities
You can opt to meet up with friends or head out for a walk with family members. Instead of always meeting for a coffee or a movie, why not switch things up and invite a friend to meet with you and catch up over a long walk in nature, or on an indoor track? When you've had a nice meal with family, suggest a walk around the block together to keep your bodies moving before unwinding for the night. If you have young children in your family, walking has been shown to improve their memory, creativity and mood.
It Can Be Fun
You can give yourself different challenges along the way, like getting to the same spot on your walk in quicker times each day, or you can opt to bring some headphones along and listen to your fave tunes, podcasts or audio books. If the weather is nice, you can explore new routes and trails, and enjoy a sense of adventure.
Helps to Curb Cravings & Keep Away Colds
We all know that sugar can be an energy zapper, however a study from the University of Exeter determined that walking for 15-minutes may help to reduce sugary cravings. Not only that, it helps to boost your immunity, something we could all use a little help with these days!
Lowers Your Risk of Breast Cancer
Once menopause starts, women are more susceptible to developing breast cancer. Thanks to a study by The American Cancer Society, it was found that women who walk at least 1 hour a day lower their breast cancer risk by at least 14%.
Helps To Improve Your Mental Health
Aside from the good it does to your physical fitness, exercise has also been proven as a fantastic way to help with mental fitness. It's been noted in several studies that a 10-minute walk can be just as beneficial as a 45-minute workout in reducing anxiety and depression.
The key message here is that there is nothing holding you back from starting a daily walking routine, so why not go for it and see what happens!