Can something so simple really bring the countless benefits many people claim? If the high intensity of exercises like boxing and CrossFit or the slow and flexible stretches of yoga and tai chi isn’t for you, then walking might be your best bet. Walking is good for your body and mind, and here’s how:
A Natural Pick-Me-Up
During stressful situations or periods, most people will take a walk to clear their thoughts. If you’ve ever come back from a walk calmer and more relaxed, then you know firsthand how walking can have a positive effect on your mood.
Walking releases chemicals known as endorphins in your body that naturally boost your mood. Endorphins are neurotransmitters produced in response to certain stimuli like exercise and other activities. These natural “happy” drugs increase self-esteem and reduce stress for a natural pick-me-up.
Weight Loss the Old Fashioned Way
If you’re goal is to maintain a healthy living routine, walking is an excellent way to get your daily activity requirements. It also has the added bonus of being easy on the joints. To walk for fitness, work on reaching 30-minutes of free walking on a daily basis.
You can start at 20 minutes or less and steadily increase the time over weeklong periods. Consider using a pedometer to monitor your steps. Your ultimate goal should be 10,000 steps a day.
Healthy Inside and Out
We all know that there is a higher incidence of heart attacks, strokes and high blood pressure in those who don’t exercise. If moderate to high-intensity exercises are not for you, walking is always a great alternative. With this low-intensity exercise, you still get the benefits that being fit can bring. When you’re healthy inside, it shows on the outside. Walking can also improve your quality of sleep and keep you energized throughout the day.
Help Dodge Those Midday Cravings
Typically, the foods we crave throughout the day are calorie-dense, full of fat and sugar, and irresistible. If you’re trying to lose wait but can’t get rid of those midday snack cravings, go for a walk. For those of us working an office job, it can be hard to avoid reaching for a snack to stay awake. Instead, get active and take a walk around your office area or building. Studies are showing that short walks can curb cravings during, and for at least 10 minutes after, a walk.