Walking has skyrocketed in popularity. New technology like apps and step counters help you track how long and far you’ve strolled. You may wonder about the benefits of hitting the pavement. So, what are the many reasons why you should take a walk every day? Let’s take a look.
How much exercise does a person need?
It’s recommended that all adults get some physical exercise. Doctors suggest you get at least 150 to 300 minutes of exercise a week, with 75 to 150 minutes of that should be a mixture of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity. But one study found that even if you didn’t get intense exercise but regular exercise, you’ll still get health benefits.
How fast should you walk?
Healthy walking should last anywhere from ten to twenty minutes. You should keep a good pace, three miles per hour, equal to 120 steps per minute. If you want to exercise to lose weight, you can go four miles per house for fifteen minutes even faster. This works out to 135 steps per minute.
Here are some reasons to start walking
Take a look at why this form of exercise enjoys widespread popularity from beginners at exercise to fitness buffs.
1 – Walking is fun and easy to do
This exercise is something everyone can do. Even the elderly or some with limited mobility can take a light stroll. Find a safe place to walk with level sidewalks or an outdoor track. Take a lap around the track once, and try to increase your circuits around the track to four or five times. Find some friends to walk with so you can chat along the route. You’ll be surprised how little effort it takes but how many great benefits you’ll experience.
2 – Prevents injuries
The downfall of high-intensity aerobic exercise is that you are more prone to injuries. Tendonitis, joint pain, and knee or ankle sprains are common injuries when you do high-intensity exercise. However, this exercise is more moderate, but remember to keep a medium pace for the best results.
3 – It’s free to take a walk
When you take a daily stroll, you need no special equipment. There are no gym fees or exercise class costs. You don’t need special clothing, just a pair of good training shoes. Wear something comfortable while you walk. Remember to wear sunscreen and a hat when you walk in the summer.
4 – A simple way to get active
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed at just the thought of exercising. You may feel intimidated by going to a gym or an exercise class. Your schedule may be so busy you don’t have the time to hit the gym every day. Walking is as simple as walking out your front door. Go around the block or down the street and back. Start small, then add distance. Find a route you enjoy. You can stroll around your neighborhood, walk around a park, or a designated fitness path.
5 – A walk improves your mood
Walking has mood-enhancing benefits. It can also relieve your stress. That’s because this exercise is a cardiovascular activity that releases endorphins. These hormones get released in your brain and nervous system and help you fight depression. Walking is also a natural way to reduce the moodiness you feel during PMS.
6 – Boosts your immune system
Aerobic exercise, in general, makes your immune system stronger. One study reported that walking more can help you get and stay healthy, and if you do get sick, the illness won’t last as long.
7 – A daily walk gives you more energy
Exercise has a domino effect on your health. You’ll tone up, lose weight, and feel less moody. When you get that exercise daily, you’ll have more energy. The little investment of time spent walking gives you a great payback of more energy to do the other things you enjoy.
8 – Burn calories and fat
Of course, you know exercising will help you burn calories. It also burns hard to lose fat, especially belly fat. It’s a simple way to lose weight without huge changes to your life.
Doctors say that walking helps reduce your appetite. So not only are you burning calories that cause weight loss, but you’re not eating as much. Walking helps you lose burn calories without painful exercise or depriving yourself.
9 – Improve your joint health
Walking helps your joints and can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis. It also makes you stronger and more flexible. Start slowly and don’t overdo it.
Here are some easy ways to enjoy the benefits of a daily stroll if you suffer from arthritis without hurting yourself:
- Go low impact: Don’t try to walk too far or too fast the first few weeks. Steadily increase the distance with time.
- Go slow: Don’t rush; slow and steady wins the race. You won’t get into good shape in one day. It takes weeks of steady, gradual increase in distance and steps.
- Don’t walk too fast: Don’t strain your muscles. If you feel pain in your knees or hips, slow down immediately.
- Heat or cold: Some people suggest putting heat on your joints before walking and cold after walking. The heat will warm up your muscles while the cold will relieve any joint swelling or discomfort.
10 – Helps you live longer
So, you may not know that people who walk more live longer. This is because of the health benefits of walking. Plus, you will enjoy the mood-altering nature of exercise. A happier person is a more active person, involved with other people and activities.
Who wants to live to a ripe old age, feeling happy and healthy? I see that hand!
How can you walk more?
So, now you know it’s a good idea to get in a daily stroll. But what if you don’t have time to walk? Or you want to exercise more than just mornings (or evenings)? Here are some simple solutions for you to incorporate more steps into your day.
1 – Plan ahead
Many people keep walking shoes handy if they see a great place to take a stroll – a track, a fitness path you never noticed, or perhaps your friend asks you to go with her during lunch hour. If you keep your shoes in your desk or your car or your locker, you are ready for a spur-of-the-moment walk.
2 – Walking mindset
Walk around while at work. Take the steps instead of the elevator. When you’re a child’s basketball practice, pace as you wait. Having a walking mindset will allow you to rack up some steps in places you never thought about.
3 – Park far away from a store
When you’re out running errands, try to park far away from the store so you’ll need to walk farther. This is a simple but effective way to get some walking in while you’re doing productive things.
4 – Mix it up
You may feel bored with your daily exercise routine. That’s okay. Change it up by walking a new route. Or go further by creating new, higher goals.
Tell yourself, “I’m going to walk to the park today and back.”
Try hiking around a lake or down a fitness trail you’ve never tried.
5 – Walk to the store or coffee shop
You may live relatively near a grocery or coffee shop. Could you stroll a mile or two to the coffee shop? It’s possible! Of course, you should build up your walking over time. If you’ve never exercised, don’t decide to walk 2 miles to the coffee shop. However, that trip can be a great goal!
Be sure to take your water bottle and wear appropriate clothing and sunscreen if it’s sunny. You may surprise yourself how much you enjoy heading off on foot to a store, a park, or for lunch. More and more communities are using sidewalks to encourage people to improve their health.
6 – Get a step counter
These little devices, whether in a watch form or clip-on step counter device, will help you track how far you’ve walked and how many steps you’ve taken. Seeing your progress is fun, and it motivates you to do more each day.
Generally, you should try for 4,000 to 10,000 steps a day as a good target. If you can do more steps, that’s even better since you’ll reap the benefits of weight loss, a boost in your mood, and you’ll have more energy.
7 – Walk your dog a little bit farther
You need to walk your dog daily, so why not simultaneously reap the great benefits of exercise? Try to take your dog farther every week. Your dog will love it, plus you’ll get more exercise.
Find another longer route to walk your dog than your old route. What if you don’t own a dog? It might be a good reason to adopt a dog. You will get healthier and help save a dog’s life at the same time.
8 – Join a walking group
Many areas have fitness groups you can join. These groups’ primary goal is to get together and walk. It’s a great way to make new friends and exercise simultaneously.
9 – Walk to work
If you don’t live far from work, try commuting on foot to work several times a week. Or if you live far from work, drive or ride the bus halfway, park your car and walk the rest of the way. The fresh air and sunshine will do you good, especially if you sit inside all day.
10 – Don’t give up
If you have an off day or week of not walking, say if it’s raining all week, don’t give up. Find an indoor track or pace around your house more. Don’t talk yourself out of exercising because it’s too cold or too hot. Dress appropriately. You’ll build up the stamina to the weather the more you get out in it. You can even walk in the rain if you don’t see lightning–carry along your umbrella.
The main point is, don’t get discouraged because you failed. It’s okay. Get back into the game and start walking.
Final Thoughts on Reaping the Many Benefits of Taking a Daily Walk
Getting more exercise of any kind is beneficial for the human body and mind. So no more excuses, strap on those sneakers, give yourself a pep talk and take a brisk walk.