Walking is one of the simplest forms of exercise. We learn to walk as toddlers and it stays with us throughout life. You don’t need equipment, a gym membership or a spotter to walk. Besides being so convenient, walking has many health benefits, including maintaining joint health, mood, heart heath, brain function and a healthy life in general. Here is how it does so much for the body.
Walking is what is called a low impact exercise. This means that it creates very little stress on the joints, which is good for those with joint pain or joint disorders. It also means that it will not wear down joints like high impact exercises such as running.
Speed walking is an aerobic activity, which helps to get rid of waste products in the body and creates feel-good hormones called endorphins. First, moving quickly makes you breathe faster, putting more oxygen than normal in your blood. Then, the heart pumps this extra oxygen to the muscles. While it is doing this the blood picks up and carries away waste products.
Walking is also a cardio exercise. This means that it strengthens the heart. According to the Mayo Clinic, walking is a good way to raise the good high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, lower low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, better known as bad cholesterol, and lower your blood pressure. Controlling these three factors can reduce your risk for a stroke or heart attack, according to the American Heart Association.
Losing weight can have positive effects on health such as lowering the risk of heart attack and diabetes. Walking burns around 100 calories per mile. You need to burn around 3500 calories a week to lose 1 lb. If you walk 5 miles a day, 7 days a week, you will lose 1 lb. a week.
Walking keeps the brain fit. According to the Mayo Clinic, doing 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as walking, 3 days a week keeps the mind sharper in older adults.
Walking can help you have not only a healthier life, but a longer one as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people who do activities such as walking for 7 hours a week can lower the risk of dying young by 40%.