Good health is not always a complicated matter of following the latest fad diet or fitness craze. Sometimes, the simplest things we can do for our health are also the most effective.
Take walking, for example. Walking is one of the simplest and most accessible forms of exercise, but it also comes with a host of health benefits you may not be aware of.
Here are just a few of the ways that taking a walk every day can improve your health:
Walking Can Elevate Your Mood and Improve Your Mental Health
Daily walks have been demonstrated to help reduce stress levels, regulate mood swings, and elevate overall feelings of happiness and well-being.
Walking may also help to clear your mind, giving you space to process your thoughts and worries in a healthy way.
Go for a walk in nature. You can receive additional benefits toward reducing anxiety and stress and helping you prevent or manage mental health conditions like depression, attention deficit disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Walking Can Boost Your Energy Levels
If you’re tired or sluggish, a short walk can be a quick and easy way to boost your energy.
Walking can help increase your circulation and get oxygen flowing to your muscles and brain, which can leave you feeling more alert and refreshed.
While other, more intense forms of exercise may leave you feeling too exhausted to function at your best, walking can boost your energy levels more than drinking a cup of coffee without the accompanying crash.
Walking Can Prevent Disease
Thirty minutes of walking five days a week appears to lower your risk of developing coronary heart disease by nearly 20%. Higher doses of walking can lead to even more significant risk reduction.
Walking can help you lose weight, lower your blood pressure, and improve your cholesterol levels. All of these factors work together to reduce your overall risk of developing heart disease.
Walking may also be able to strengthen your immune system, making you less likely to catch or suffer from a cold or the flu.
Walking Can Help You Sleep Better
If you’re struggling with insomnia or other sleep issues, a daily walk may be able to help.
Walking can help to regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle and improve the quality of your sleep.
A daily walk can also help reduce stress levels, which can majorly contribute to sleep problems.
Walking Can Help You Think Better
Walking has been shown to improve memory and cognitive function, especially in older adults. It can also help to increase your creativity and problem-solving ability.
Daily walking also appears to enhance executive functioning, which includes abilities like planning, organization, and time management. This means that a good morning walk can help you be more productive, focused, and organized throughout the day and lead you to make better health decisions—less likely to be impulsive or emotional in what you eat or drink, for example.
You don’t need to walk for hours at a time to reap the benefits. Even a short walk around your neighborhood or local park can make a huge difference. You don’t need special equipment or a gym membership—just step outside and explore.