If you walk instead of driving you’re doing the planet a favour by reducing carbon emissions. However, there are many other benefits of walking. A regular walk has been called a ‘Constitutional’ because it aids the well-being of your physical and mental constitution. Just 30 minutes walking a day can have the following benefits.
Improves heart health
Any regular exercise, including walking, reduces the risk of heart and cardiovascular disease.
Maintains a healthy weight
Studies have shown that walking will aid weight loss in overweight people and it will allay weight gain in people who are healthy weight.
Walking is man’s best medicine
Regulates blood pressure and improves circulation
Studies show that walking can lower blood pressure. Better circulation improves cellular and brain function. This has a variety of benefits including better mood, more creativity, better cognitive and memory function, and less stress.
Strengthens muscles, bones and joints
This low-impact exercise prevents loss of bone density, thereby reducing the risk of osteoporosis, fracture, and injury. Like bones, you can also experience loss of muscles as you age. Walking can help to strengthen and tone your muscles and prevent muscle loss. Walking can also prevent arthritis and reduce the accompanying pain. Walking protects joints, especially the knees and hips, by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
Improves digestion and helps keep you ‘regular’
A regular walking routine can greatly improve gastric movement because it utilises core and abdominal muscles improving movement in people’s digestive system.
Reduces stress and improves mood
Walking modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in stress, anxiety, irritability and even anger. When you take your walks with others, that interaction helps you feel more connected which also improves your mood.
Walking can help calm your nerves and relax your mind. When you walk, you don’t have a particular mental task at hand, your mind can wander while you do. This helps your mind to think more creatively. So, if you are stuck with a problem, take a walk!
All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking
– Friedrich Nietzsche
Gets you outside, and into nature
There are many benefits of getting outside. Regular exposure to sunlight will help mood (on top of the physical exercise) and helps the skin produce Vitamin D, an important nutrient. New sights and sounds will stimulate your senses, and fresh air will invigorate you. If you can walk in nature you will feel even better, by stimulating the natural connections we all have with it.
Reduces risk of diabetes
Sedentary lifestyles has led to growth of diabetes. Walking every day helps control blood sugar levels, which, in turn, can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
Builds other healthy habits
Creating a walking habit is likely to give you confidence and motivation to build other healthy habits, keeping you on the path to well-being.
It is free, as well as freeing
Walking requires no special gear and it’s free. Indeed, if you walk instead of driving you will save money. The health benefits will help stave off costly visits to the doctor and medications.
It is easy to take walking for granted, but even unconsciously, it can help us reconnect with our free self.
Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake
– Wallace Stevens