Walking for heart health
Walking is good for your heart! A brisk walk brings up your heart rate and improves circulation. Over time, taking regular moderate-intensity walks has been shown to improve blood pressure.
So say you can’t do intense exercise due to an injury or condition, walking is the perfect, low-impact substitute to keep your heart strong and healthy. According to the American Heart Association, walking also lowers your risk of heart disease.
Walking for joints and muscles
While it’s not as intense a workout as, say, lifting weights, walking still helps tone the muscles and keeps your joints limber. It is especially important for those who can’t do more complex workouts for some reason. Walk as briskly as your body allows for maximum benefits. Also, as much as it helps joints, walking is very forgiving, providing a low-impact form of exercise for those with injured joints.
Walking for weight loss
Did you know that for an average-weight US woman, a brisk two-mile walk can burn just about 200 calories? This amount will, of course, vary based on the intensity of your stride, your weight, and your sex, but the point is that walking should not be underestimated as a calorie-burning tool.
Any exercise at all burns extra calories and can help towards your weight loss goals, so why not take a walk on your days off from intense exercise? Pump your arms while walking for added calorie burn too.
Walking for mental health
A nice leisurely stroll is perfect for your mental health, helping to reduce stress and anxiety. According to studies, getting some sun can help lower depression rates, and there’s something about fresh air that just clears the mind.
For added mental health benefits, choose an area with lots of nature. Being surrounded by nature has been shown to have a calming effect. With many of us working from home these days, a walk gets one out of the house and into the great outdoors. We highly recommend a walk on your days off, especially for those who work out at home or the gym!
Walking for social reasons
Walking is an amazing social activity. The pace of walking allows you to have deeper conversations. And, at least while social distancing mandates are still in place, an outdoor walk standing 6 feet apart can be a great way to socialize with family and friends while encouraging them to get more fit too. And the outdoor air means less of a chance of spreading illness.
Walking for keeping up the momentum
If you’re temporarily unable to do more intense exercise due to an injury, going on regular walks (with your doctor’s approval) can keep you in that get-up-and-go mindset.
Keep in mind you want to heal up, right! So by keeping up with walking, you’re giving your body a nice, mild workout. If you stopped doing anything at all after an injury, you’d have a much harder time getting back at it once you’ve healed up.
Remember, an object (or person!) in motion remains in motion! And, depending on the injury, walking may actually be beneficial to the healing process.
So whether you’re walking for weight loss, heart health, mental health, or whatever else, don’t look past the benefits a simple walk can provide! And if you’re ready to up your exercise game, check out our blog post on the benefits of running!