(Baptist Health) – Ready to improve your life? Show yourself the door.
Starting a regular habit of walking is one of the easiest and most popular ways to increase your daily activity. All you need is a good pair of shoes.
To put more pep in your step, you can think about all of the healthy benefits that walking offers, including these seven great perks.ADVERTISING
1. A HEALTHIER HEART
A brisk walk will get your heart pumping more efficiently. Walking can also help keep high blood pressure in check—and give your good (HDL) cholesterol a boost.
Hearty and healthy: Besides protecting you from heart attack and stroke, staying active can also lower your risk for type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer.
2. A STAY-TRIM SECRET
Along with nutritious food choices, regular physical activity can help you maintain a healthy weight over time.
Fun fact: Walking increases the levels of the same body hormones that are boosted by energy drinks—but without all of the calories and stimulants.
3. STRONGER BONES AND MUSCLES
Walking is both an aerobic and a strengthening activity. So in addition to improving cardio fitness, walking can keep you toned and reduce your risk for osteoporosis.
4. A ROUTE TO LESS STRESS
That may be especially true for walks in nature. Take a walk in a park, on a beach or in the woods to let your mind unwind and take in the beauty of the great outdoors.
5. A SOLUTION TO SITTING TOO MUCH
If your work involves sitting a lot, it can take a toll on your health. The human body isn’t meant to be sedentary. Walking regularly can help counter the negative effects of sitting.
Did you know? Sitting for long periods of time may reduce an enzyme needed to process fat. Walking can help you keep those levels up where they belong.
6. BETTER MENTAL HEALTH
Studies have found that exercise can work as well as medication in treating depression and anxiety for some people. Staying active may even help significantly decrease symptoms of both over time.
7. ENHANCED RELATIONSHIPS
Our connection with others is good for our well-being. So invite friends and family on your walks to double down on the healthy perks. You’ll be strengthening bonds.
Quick tip: Walking buddies can actually help you gauge your exercise intensity. If you’re going at a good heart-pumping pace but you’re still able to carry on a conversation, you’re probably walking at a moderately intense speed.
WE HOPE YOU’RE FEELING INSPIRED TO STEP OUT YOUR DOOR.
Are there things keeping you from being active? If so, get ideas for breaking out of a fitness funk.
Sources: American Council on Exercise; American Heart Association; Anxiety and Depression Association of America; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health