For many of us, walking doesn’t seem like anything special. It’s just something we do every day. But walking is actually one of the best forms of exercise out there. Studies show that this simple form of movement has a wide range of benefits, including better physical and mental health, increased mindfulness, and enhanced communication skills. Here are some things you should know about this simple, yet beneficial, form of exercise.
Walking Improves Your Health
A walking regimen can help you lose weight; lower your blood pressure and cholesterol; and reduce your risk for heart disease, diabetes, and cancer; among other benefits. A special report issued by Harvard Medical School, says that walking can do more to combat disease and other health conditions than pretty much anything else. The report also states that walking just two-and-a-half hours a week, or just under 22 minutes a day, might reduce your risk of heart disease by an impressive 30%.
Walking Improves Memory and Cognitive Capability
Numerous studies show that walking is a brain booster. A study published in a 2010 issue of the journal Neurology found a link between walking and a greater amount of gray matter in the brain. For example, research from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville indicated walking lessened the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in elderly men.
It’s a Safe, Easy Exercise for Newbies
It is estimated that 17% to 50% of Americans are inactive, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For these people, walking is arguably the best suited exercise for them. This is because it is a familiar movement, removing the learning curve that occurs with a new form of physical activity and the intimidation factor many feel when starting out. Walking is also safe with one of the lowest exercise injury rates, according to a report by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
Walking is Free and can be Done Anywhere
If you’re looking to become more physically active, there’s no need for a pricy gym membership. Just put on your shoes and head out the door. If the weather’s bad, look for a place such as a mall or school that offers community walking time. You can even walk around your house.
As you can see, walking provides you with all kinds of benefits. Whether you’re really into fitness or not, simply getting up and walking throughout the day can make a huge difference on your overall health.