We touched on it recently, but we thinking walking is such a wonderful activity, it’s worthy its own full blog post.
According to growing scientific evidence, walking, done often and properly, can deliver an array of benefits that are just as impressive as those often gained from sportier regimens.
Walking lowers the rate of weight gain
A 2013 Australian study tracked the weight of 822 subjects and found that, over the course of four years, the average person gained 3.5 pounds. But the participants didn’t pack on the pounds equally. Those who walked to work gained, on average, two pounds less than did people who took their cars, even when the car commuters were physically active at other times of the day.
It strengthens muscles
It tones your leg and abdominal muscles – and even arm muscles if you pump them as you walk. This increases your range of motion, shifting the pressure and weight from your joints and muscles – which are meant to handle weight – helping to lessen arthritis pain
It lifts your spirits
“Just 10 minutes of walking at the pace you would use if you were late for an appointment—but obviously without that stress of being late—can boost your mood for two hours,” says Robert Thayer, Ph.D., the author of Calm Energy: How People Regulate Mood With Food and Exercise.
It improves sleep
A study from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle found that women, ages 50 to 75, who took one-hour morning walks, were more likely to relieve insomnia than women who didn’t walk.
It’s good for your brain
Walking does much more than work the area underneath your neck. It also has extensive cognitive benefits, improving memory in seniors, cognitive control and academic performance in preadolescents (especially those who need it most), and (when done outdoors) boosting creativity in the young and healthy. The farther an older person can walk in six minutes, the better he or she performs on memory and logic tests; folks who perform poorly on the walking test tend to have reduced grey matter volume in certain sections of their brains.