Much has been written about the health benefits of walking, and if I were to share them all here, they probably will not fit. For the sake of discussion, however, I’m going to share some of the most important reasons that short walks should be a part of your daily ritual.
First off, walking is the cheapest and most convenient way to stay healthy. It’s a low-impact form of exercise and is suitable for all ages. In terms of health benefits, here are some ways daily walks can improve your overall health.
Walking Reduces Risk for Type 2 Diabetes
There are many chronic conditions on which the effects of walking have been researched the most, but type 2 diabetes is number one on the list. Based on several years of study, walking has been found to significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. People suffering from diabetes have also been found to lower their risks of dying from the condition simply by walking at least a mile a day. Furthermore, people with diabetes who walk even just two hours a week has a lower risk of dying from the condition.
Walking Can Boost Cardiovascular Health
While running is an excellent way to keep the heart fit, you do not necessarily need to run every time to stay healthy. Taking short walks everyday has been found to lower blood pressure and improve blood cholesterol levels. Simply walking at least one hour a day is enough to lower your risk for coronary heart disease. Even a thirty-minute daily walk could lower the risk for heart problems by up to 19 percent.
Walking Relieves Symptoms of Anxiety and Depression
Not a lot of published studies has documented the specific impact of walking to mental health. However, existing studies indicate that walking on a regular basis can relieve symptoms of anxiety and depression, which in turn improves the quality of life of a person. Aside from that, daily walks can also reduce physical symptoms of stress-related anxiety, as well as improve the quality of sleep, raise affective response, improve cognitive performance, and reduce cognitive decline.
Walking Can Help Prevent Obesity
There is a huge link between obesity and walking (or the lack of it). Human beings are designed to move, so if you’re not moving as much as you need to, you are putting yourself at risk of being overweight. Walking, on the other hand, can cut the effect of the obesity gene by half. Simply by walking a little on a daily basis can cause you to lose a lot.
Walking Strengthens the Bones and Muscles
Walking is a form of weight-bearing exercise, and is an effective way to improve bone health among people of any age. It doesn’t just stimulate bone formation, but also strengthens muscles that pull on bones and keep them stronger. Walking can also improve strength, balance, and coordination, all of which reduce the risk of falling and getting the bones injured. Moreover, walking has been found to be a great way to treat osteoporosis.
Walking Increases Creativity and Productivity
If you type in “daily routines of geniuses” on your browser’s search bar and read through articles shown on the results, you will notice that among the daily rituals of history’s greatest men and women is taking a short walk. Friedrich Nietzsche, for instance, used to walk for one hour in the morning and for another hour in the afternoon. Charles Dickens, on the other hand, would walk three hours in the afternoon, and would directly put into writing what he observed during his walk. Other greats who included morning and afternoon walks into their routines were Albert Einstein, Soren Kierkegaard, and Ludwig van Beethoven.
Walking Makes You Happy
Walking is not only good for your physical body, but for your psychological health as well. In a recent study from England, commuters’ well-being were measured through a survey. Among those with the highest well-being score were people who either walked or rode a bike to work. Just like any other form of exercise, walking promotes the release of endorphins, which we all know are “feel good” chemicals. So, when you’re feeling depressed or anxious, try taking a break from whatever you’re doing and take a short walk outside.
There is no question as to how crucial walking is to your general well-being. Its benefits go beyond the physical, as it can improve your mental, emotional, and spiritual health as well. Make walking a part of your daily ritual from now on, and start experiencing the many health benefits of this simple, yet very healthful routine.
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