Getting up and moving is one of the BEST things we can do for our overall health and well-being, so let’s take a WALK! Walking is easy. You’ve been doing it a long time and are probably pretty good at it by now. It doesn’t take a lot of fancy equipment – just a comfortable pair of shoes. Of course you can get into “fancy” walking with your iPhone apps, Fitbit tracker, headphones, and custom-designed running shoes, but that’s not necessary. What’s important is that we’re up and away from the computer or cubicle. We’re outside (or inside if the weather is harsh) to enjoy a WALK!
Walking is an excellent exercise that doesn’t feel like exercise. Walking is putting one foot in front of the other and going somewhere – and then coming back. It’s really that simple. When I find something so health-boosting, energy-producing, and disease-fighting-ly wonderful, I want to share it with you. When you learn the many reasons of just how amazing walking can be for your physical (and MENTAL) health, you’ll wonder why it took so long to start.
Here are 10 great reasons to start a walking habit –
- Social Interaction. Sure, it’s fun to play Candy Crush on the sofa for 12 hours every day, but studies show that people who find ways to interact socially live longer than those who become isolated. Relationships and social interactions even help protect against illness by boosting your immune system. It’s not hard. A simple nod or hello to a neighbor while you’re walking is all it takes. Who knows? They may even invite you in for cake!
- Get Better Sleep. Walking benefits the brain by allowing nighttime worries to diminish. According to Sleep journal, a 45-minute walk in the morning lets you get to sleep quicker and sleep more soundly than those who don’t take the time to walk. A deeper sleep comes from the brain exercise of observing a changing, interesting environment and absorbing what is going on.
- Leave the Worry Behind. You can’t fret about all of life’s complications while you’re taking in the scenery of a wooded park or listening to the birds. Give yourself time to escape the stress of life and just enjoy the walk. Look at the outside world with new eyes during your walk and feel the burden of worry lift from your shoulders. You’ll come back refreshed with new insights you might not even have considered before.
- View Life From A Different Angle. Something as simple as walking around the block or to the grocery store can change your entire perspective. Since we typically use our cars as our main mode of transportation, by walking you’ll see many things you may have failed to notice from a car. Going slower shows us how to appreciate what’s around us in a whole new way. Notice the trees, birds, and neighborhood – it’s a beautiful world out there to enjoy!
- Buff That Body. Forget the gym. Walking regularly will give definition to calves, quads and hamstrings while lifting your glutes (butt muscles). Add hill walking into the mix and it’s even more effective. Pay attention to your posture and you’ll also tone your abs and waist. You’ll be shocked at how quickly you’ll feel stronger and more stable just by regular walking.
- Stop Aching Joints. It sounds counter intuitive, I know; but walking can be the very best activity for maintaining healthy cartilage in your knees and other joints. Arthritis sufferers and those with everyday joint stiffness will see a reduction in pain and better mobility with a regular walk. Don’t believe me? Check out the Arthritis Foundation’s Walk With Ease Online Tools.
- Burn Calories. Walking is s great calorie torcher that’s easier on the knees than running. You’ll burn around 75 calories simply by walking at 2mph for 30 minutes. Go a bit faster to 3mph and it’s 99 calories, and while sauntering along at a brisk 4mph burns 150 calories in 30 minutes!
- Avoid A Heart Attack or Stroke. Keep your heart healthy by providing a regular exercise routine and you’ll see big dividends in return. It’s possible to keep a rein on high blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels (LDL) by walking 30 minutes every day. This is particularly effective when you walk right after a meal. In fact, studies show that a brisk half-hour walk can reduce the risk of stroke up to 27%!
- Boost Your Brain. Do you find yourself forgetting where you put your keys or sunglasses more and more often? Walking just might be your answer. In both memory and logic tests, it’s been shown that seniors who walk daily perform much better than the sedentary-by-choice. A regular walk improves academic performance in children – so the after-dinner family walk is a win-win for everyone. A bad case of writer’s block? Take a walk outdoors to reap a boost of creative juices.
- No More Sick Days. According to a North Carolina study, a 30 to 45 minute walk daily at a moderate pace can increase the number of immune system cells in your body. Over a period of time, this can have a profound effect on your body’s ability to fight illness and disease. To be more specific, walking at least 30 minutes a day could reduce the risk of having to take a sick day by almost 43%.
Let’s go for a walk today! Hope to see you out there!
As with all medical conditions discussed on the Internet, check first with your doctor before using any alternative treatments.
Get more great travel health tips as well as spa & wellness destinations on The Travel Pharmacist.
Learn more about the Travel Pharmacist Team – your Travel Health & Wellness Experts!