The Surprising Health Benefits of Walking
Walking is a great way to spend reflective time alone, to enjoy your neighborhood with a loved one and even to accomplish a workout. But how often do you say “let’s go for a walk around the block”? While walking is just a normal part of most of our lives, the act of going for a 30-minute walk each day actually brings with it a surprising array of health benefits.
Walking Improves Physical Health
According to health and fitness experts, walking is far more than simply an ordinary way to get moving. Going for a walk at a moderate to brisk pace can even have health benefits parallel to that of running. According to one study conducted over six years, both the practice of going for a moderate walk and vigorous run result in reductions in risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease.
That’s because walking increases cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness. It can also benefit your bone health; aiding in joint or bone stiffness and in the establishment of stronger, healthier bones. Other physical health benefits include improved balance, increased muscle strength and endurance, boosted immune function and — for those of us who may be watching our figures — decreased body fat.
It Also Boosts Mental Health
Your physical health won’t be the only thing improved by developing a regular walking habit. Immediate impacts can be seen in increased energy levels and elevated moods — one study even suggested that going for a morning walk is more invigorating than a cup of coffee. That’s because walking improves oxygen flow throughout the body, sparking increased production of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, hormones that help elevate energy levels.
And when it comes to your mood: walking has been demonstrated to help combat depression and anxiety, reduce symptoms of social withdrawal and even help to boost self image. Walking also encourages creative thinking — up to 60%, according to a study conducted by Stanford University.
Maintaining this low-stress fitness regimen is also proven to slow down mental decline, improve memory and lower Alzheimer’s risk. Even further, research suggests that going for a daily walk can extend your life by reducing the risk of overall death up to 24%.
At Sage Collective, we believe in the power of vibrant living. As a way to boost your body and mind, we see walking as an integral part of that practice, and encourage our residents to develop their own 30-minute a day habit.