5 Surprising Benefits of Walking (No One Told You About!)
September 16, 2022
Walking is often regarded as one of the most basic forms of exercise. It is an activity that almost everyone can do, regardless of age or fitness level, and requires no equipment or gym membership. However, despite its simplicity, walking is often overlooked as an effective form of exercise. It is time to give walking the credit it deserves.
In this article, we will explore the numerous benefits of walking and why it is the most underrated form of exercise. From physical health benefits to mental health benefits, walking is an excellent way to improve your overall well-being.
So, lace up your sneakers and get ready to discover the amazing benefits of walking.
Benefits of Walking
Walking is one of the simplest and easiest forms of exercise that can provide numerous benefits to your overall health and well-being. It can help you maintain a healthy weight, improve cardiovascular health, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. In addition to these well-known benefits, here are five surprising benefits of walking:
1. Boosts creativity
Walking can help stimulate creative thinking and problem-solving. A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology found that walking can increase creative thinking by up to 60%. Walking allows you to disconnect from your routine and surroundings, which can help improve your mood and provide a fresh perspective on problems or challenges you may be facing.
2. Improves digestion
Walking after a meal can help improve digestion and prevent digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, and indigestion. Walking helps to stimulate the digestive system and increases blood flow to the organs involved in digestion, which can aid in the absorption of nutrients and removal of waste products.
3. Boosts immune function
Regular walking can help strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of illnesses such as colds and flu. Walking increases blood circulation, which can help transport immune cells to different parts of the body more efficiently. It can also help reduce inflammation in the body, which has been linked to several chronic diseases.
4. Reduces stress and anxiety
Walking can help reduce stress and anxiety by increasing the production of endorphins, which are natural mood boosters. Walking also allows you to disconnect from the stresses of daily life and provides an opportunity to clear your mind and focus on the present moment. This can help improve your mood and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.
5. Improves sleep
Walking can help improve the quality of your sleep by regulating your sleep-wake cycle. Regular physical activity can help promote the release of hormones such as melatonin, which regulate the sleep-wake cycle. Walking in natural sunlight can also help reset your body’s internal clock and promote better sleep at night.
How and when to walk?
If you want to start a walking program, following a sedentary period, first walk quietly, then increase your pace and the distance covered gradually.
To boost your walking, unroll your foot correctly. We put the heel on the ground, and we roll the foot completely, so as to propel ourselves forward thanks to the toes
You can walk in the woods or in a park! Take advantage of it: enjoy the sound of the leaves under your feet, the song of the birds, the fresh scents, the landscapes, the lights, the shadows, etc…
To motivate yourself, you can join a hiking club, the friendliness of the group can be an excellent driver!
You can also walk around town, and it’s always easier with a specific goal:
Journeys to work
The one to do your shopping
Discover a neighborhood you don’t know
Go visit family or friends,
Use and abuse the stairs too! In any case, always remember to hydrate yourself, and enjoy the moment!
Does walking help you lose weight?
To fight against overweight and obesity (and stay healthy in general), it is recommended to adopt a healthy and balanced diet (varied, rich in fiber, fruits, vegetables, and good proteins) and to practice regular physical activity or sports. So do you lose weight by walking?
Like any other physical activity, walking can help regulate weight or shed excess pounds. For this, the caloric expenditure of the session must be sufficient, and the session must be long enough.
Indeed, the muscles need additional energy to cope with the effort. After having drawn this energy from the sugar present in the blood, they will look for it in the fats stored in the body. On the other hand, the longer the muscles grow, the more energy (calories) they burn at rest.
Thus, as part of a healthy and balanced diet, walking every day can help lose weight (you have to walk fairly regularly, fast enough, and long enough, at least half an hour a day). Walking also helps control weight gain during pregnancy (and prevent gestational diabetes).
What equipment do you need to start walking?
As mentioned above, walking does not normally require any special equipment. To walk in ideal conditions, it is nevertheless recommended to opt for suitable shoes.
Flexible and airy, sports shoes are perfect for walking (no need to invest in a special running model). If the walking sessions are carried out on uneven ground, it is recommended to opt for hiking shoes (more rigid, with a high upper for better ankle support).
Clothes for walking must be comfortable and allow ample movement (especially in the legs). In winter, it is recommended to provide several layers of clothing (to keep the heat), which do not retain moisture. You should also wear a hat or cap when walking in the sun (and sunglasses to protect your eyes).
To accompany the movement and secure the exit, it is finally possible to use one or two walking sticks.
How often should you walk?
As with any other physical activity, the main thing is to walk regularly. Indeed, to offer their benefits over the long term, sports sessions must be fairly frequent and regular.
The body must gradually get used to the effort required. To remain effective, it must also be used regularly (this is the principle of all sports training).
If your schedule allows it, the ideal is to walk one hour a day, every day. Otherwise, it is better to plan two to three short walking sessions per week (of at least 30 minutes).
The frequency and intensity of walking sessions must also be adapted to each person’s state of health. In the case of osteoarthritis (when the cartilage of the joints deteriorates), movements are for example particularly difficult and painful. Walking sessions should be gentler, shorter, and less intense.
Advice: Before starting a new physical activity or sport, always ask your doctor for advice. Depending on your age, your state of health, and your physical abilities, the latter may, for example, carry out a complete physical examination before allowing you to practice daily walking.
Walking is a highly underrated form of exercise that offers numerous benefits for both physical and mental health.
From improving cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of chronic diseases to promoting weight loss and boosting mood, walking is an accessible and easy way to improve overall well-being. Whether you’re taking a stroll through the park or incorporating walking into your daily routine, the benefits of walking are undeniable.
So, instead of overlooking walking as a viable form of exercise, consider incorporating it into your lifestyle for a healthier and happier you.