If you’re too tired (or too lazy – we’re not here to judge) to run, then walking just might be the perfect solution for you! Whoever said running was the only sport you can do outside for free? You’d be surprised how a simple thing as walking can affect your health. We always talk about running, swimming, cycling or cardio exercise, but no one ever talks about the surprising benefits of walking! We’re here to do just that, and the best advice we can give you – next time you go to work, go out shopping, or leave the house to meet your friends – choose the stairs, skip the bus, if it’s possible – walk the distance!
It strengthens your heart and lungs
Much like running, walking as exercise helps you strengthen your heart and your lungs. Your organs need exercise, and walking is usually the right choice for them. The simple act of walking every day can massively reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke, as it helps to lower your blood pressure or maintain low blood pressure. Walking at least 30 minutes a day ought to do the job.
It improves your sleep
Everybody knows walking helps with blood pressure, this probably didn’t come as a surprise, but did you know it can also affect your sleep? Studies have found that aerobic exercise (such as walking) can increase your sleep efficiency, meaning it helps you to fall asleep more easily, improves the quality of your sleep, and helps you feel more rested in the morning. You know this feeling when you wake up and feel like you could’ve used a couple more hours of sleep? If you walk (30 minutes a day, like we said), this feeling will be alleviated.
It helps with weight loss
That’s another obvious benefit, but an important one nonetheless. This is especially relevant for beginners; if you’re not exercising regularly, walking is the right place to start. Don’t jump over your head and aim to run a marathon when you’re beginning to get in shape, but start with something everyone can do – walking. Again, 30 minutes a day is all you need – but do it every day.
It’s good for your memory
This one you probably didn’t know – walking is good for your memory! Studies have found a connection between physical activity and cognitive decline. People who exercise regularly (yes, walking counts as exercise), tend to suffer less from cognitive decline at old age. If you’re worried that it’s already too late for you – it’s not. Making lifestyle adjustments and getting in shape is possible and even necessary at any age.
It clears your mind
Walking outside helps to clear your mind and relieve stress for two main reasons. The activity helps to enhance your circulation and increase the supply of blood sent to your brain. Running has a similar effect on the body, but since walking is a calmer activity, it’s another advantage that running doesn’t offer you – it allows you to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the cool weather, which helps to clear your mind and relieve any form of stress you may have.
The sooner the better
Here are some more practical tips on why you should start walking today: like any form of exercise, you should make it a habit. The sooner you start the better, because when it becomes part of your routine, you won’t even feel like it’s exercise. It’s cheap and accessible – in fact, it’s the most affordable exercise out there. You don’t need a gym membership or even fancy shoes; all you need is your body. Share with a friend all the benefits of walking you just learned and invite them to join you – perhaps it won’t seem so hard if you make a date out of it.
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