Whether you are someone with a regular exercise schedule or not, you might be surprised to learn the essential benefits of incorporating walking into your daily life. The simple movement of putting one foot in front of the other, in as little as 30 minutes a day, can increase your health and have a positive effect on your heart, physical makeup, and mindset in life. Below are beneficial health outcomes when it comes to walking.
Strengthen Your Muscles
Not only is walking a weight-bearing exercise that helps build stronger bones, but walking can also help build and strengthen your muscles. Walking doesn’t just work the muscles in your legs, but it uses a variety of muscle groups throughout the body. Walking incorporates your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, lower leg muscles, and even upper body muscles. During a walk, abdominal muscles are used to support the torso while back muscles work to maintain your posture. Shoulders and your upper back muscles get a workout in as they keep your arms pumping and moving. The consistent and collaborate movement of walking over time strengthens and builds lean muscle throughout the body, which in turn will help keep you active.
Keep Your Heart Pumping
Walking has an awesome effect on the heart. When we walk, the blood is circulated throughout the entire body as it rushes to aid in all muscular movement. The increase in blood flow has the ability to remove unhealthy arterial plaque, which can help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, walking briskly, or at a picked-up pace, can help aid and build cardiovascular strength as you work your lungs to get more oxygen into the blood. Utilizing walking as a mild cardio exercise over time can strengthen the overall health of our cardiovascular and pulmonary fitness, which is essential to a healthy body.
Believe it or not, walking can also dramatically increase your mood. Research has shown that the simple act of walking can help modify parts of the nervous system that affect anger, mood, and mental stability. Walking outdoors, in particular, can have a therapeutic effect on your mindset. Taking a brisk stroll outside can provide an uplifting boost of mood from the simple act of breathing in the fresh air, taking in sights and sounds of nature, as well as soaking in natural sunlight which includes a healthy dose of Vitamin D.
Since walking is a gentler form of exercise or physical activity, it’s great for adding to a routine or increasing your exercise intensity. With walking, you can lengthen the distance of your route, change the type of the terrain, or even add weights to your gait. Those new to walking can start small such as taking a walk around the block, and then build slowly over the length over time. Trail walking is also a great way to get more out of your walk since the ups and downs of an outdoor trail are not as noticeable when you’re out enjoying nature.
Whether you are an avid hiker or new to strolling outside, walking (or the simple act of moving our bodies in a forward motion) can provide a good number of benefits. Getting out for a consistent walk around the block or down the neighborhood can help you build muscle, increase your cardio or heart health, and even improve your mental mindset. So, get up off that couch and get moving. Walking, in the end, is what our bodies were designed to do.