Can’t run? No worries! Walking is a great alternative and a heck of a lot easier on your body. In fact, the benefits of walking are fabulous! After two knee surgeries, I remember feeling lucky that I could even walk, because for a while there it was iffy. Unfortunately, for many people that’s also the case. They think of exercise and their first thought is of running. But when you can’t run (or don’t want to!), but see the constant message that exercise equates to running, it can make you lose all enthusiasm for even starting a program. Hold on a second though, because walking? Walking can help you shed those pounds and make you feel better too. Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy.
Benefits of Walking – Why Walking Is Good For You!
1. Walking Burns Calories
A walk around the block every night may not have you two pant sizes down by Friday, but for every brisk 30-minute walk that you do, you’re going to burn anywhere from 80-240 calories. How many calories you burn depends a lot on your size and weight. Even taking the dog for a walk burns calories!
2. Build Muscles By Walking
Say hello to leg muscle development when you begin a walking program. Don’t worry, it’s not going to make you look like The Hulk, your leg muscles will just start to become stronger and more toned. When I was recovering from my knee surgeries, walking was a really great way to help build up the muscles around my knee to help strengthen my legs.
3. Increase Circulation by Walking
Get the blood flowing by getting your heart pumping. Increased circulation helps to do amazing things like lowering blood pressure and reducing the risks of heart disease and strokes. Sedentary lifestyles are killers, but those quick walks around the block or office building can help.
4. Snooze Better
Did you know that exercise helps you sleep better? It does! In multiple studies done on the relationship between sleep and exercise, the clear message is that there’s a positive correlation between exercise and better sleep. Walking can help you keep insomnia at bay and give you a better night’s rest.
5. Walking is a Mood Booster
Feeling down? Frustrated with work? Got a bad case of the grumpies? Take a walk! As Elle Woods said in Legally Blonde, “Exercise creates endorphins. Endorphins make people happy. And happy people don’t kill their husbands, they just don’t.” Amen, Elle, Amen. Studies have also shown that aerobic exercise also helps reduce depression and anxiety while improving a person’s quality of life.
6. Build Better Bones
So long, brittle bones! Studies have shown that women who walk at least a mile a day have higher bone densities than those who don’t. So, slow the rate of bone loss, strap on a pedometer, and go for a walk. Those 10,000 steps a day can help your bones stay stronger longer.
Remember, start off slowly and work up to longer, quicker walks. There’s no need to rush straight into a 10 mile hike if your daily routine consists of walking under a mile, because the odds of you injuring yourself are going to be a lot greater. Go slow to go fast. You’ll still get the benefits of walking without having to injure your body in the process! And remember, always consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine – that includes walking.
Stay safe and have fun, friends!
Driver, HS., Taylor, SR. (2000) Exercise and Sleep. Sleep Medicine Review Journal. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/ (Sourced on 7/15/16).
Krall, E., Dawson-Hughes, B. (1994) Walking is related to bone density and rates of bone loss. American Journal of Medicine. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8304358 (Sourced on 7/15/16).
Sharma, A., Madaan, V., Petty, F. (2006) Exercise for Mental Health. The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/ (Sourced on 7/15/16).
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