Certain trends, like reaching 10K steps a day, have been circulating for a few years now. What many people don’t know, however, is that walking more is not only a way to advertise fitness gear, but it can actually change your life.
Do you think it’s an exaggeration? Well, it depends on your lifestyle, but walking more can really lead you to a healthier, more active life.
While trends come and go, walking has been the one activity humans have literally been doing since the beginning of time. Not only is the human anatomy made for walking for long periods of time, making it a very healthy exercise for your joints, but it is also the one exercise that doesn’t require any kind of equipment.
Let’s take a look at why walking more is so great for you.
Eight health benefits of walking more
1It improves cardiovascular health
Even though walking is so simple, it is very effective when improving cardiovascular health. Not only will it strengthen your heart, but it will also lower blood pressure and improve circulation.
When you walk, your heart beats faster in order to deliver oxygen to your muscles. Over time, your heart’s efficiency will improve, which lowers your risk of cardiovascular diseases tremendously.
A study has found that walking between 6000 and 9000 steps a day is already enough to see those benefits.
2It helps to maintain a healthy weight or lose fat
Walking can also help you to maintain a healthy weight or even lose excess fat. This is due to a few different reasons. For one, you are burning calories while walking, so the more steps you get in throughout the day, the more energy you burn, which might put you in a calorie deficit.
However, walking more can also boost your metabolism during and after the activity.
3It boosts your mood
Walking helps your body to release endorphins, which are the body’s natural mood boosters.
Endorphins will not only reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, but also make you feel happy overall, and who doesn’t want more of that?
4It increases energy levels
Due to the effects of boosting your mood and circulation, walking will leave you feeling more energized and healthy than sitting on the couch.
It sounds counter-intuitive, but moving more can make you feel less tired!
5It promotes better sleep
Because walking impacts your mental and physical health positively, your sleep will benefit from it, too.
Not only will the added movement help you to feel more tired at night, but the fresh air and stress reduction will make falling asleep a breeze!
6Strengthens muscles and bones
When you walk a lot, you are using your muscles, which will help to strengthen them over time. Due to the increased circulation and blood flow to your limbs, walking will also keep your bones and joints healthy, which is a huge advantage.
7It’s a low-impact exercise
Speaking of keeping your bones and joints healthy, walking is a lot gentler on the body than exercises such as running or jumping. Even if your knees or hips have been acting up, walking can be a great exercise for you.
8It reduces stress
Walking allows you to detach from technology and life’s stressors for a little bit, while at the same time giving you some time to think and be outside. This has been shown to reduce stress tremendously, so if you’re feeling worked up, a walk might do the trick.
Bonus Point: IT’S FREE!
If all those benefits sound too good to be true, there is one more thing you can’t forget: Walking is free, and you can do it anytime and anywhere you want!
Technically, you don’t even NEED shoes (although they might make things more comfortable).
With all those benefits, are there any downsides to walking? Well, as with anything, there are a few…
If you are someone who prefers walking outside over marching on the treadmill, then walking is weather-dependent. Sure, you could go on a walk in the rain, but your motivation might not be as high (and nobody can really blame you for that).
Going on a walk will require a bit more time than doing a quick HIIT Workout, that’s for sure. Some people might even find themselves getting a bit bored at the thought of walking for more than a few minutes at a time.
However, all those concerns can be helped if you use the time while walking to either listen to a podcast or audiobook or perhaps even chat with a friend.
To be fair, you will not achieve a bodybuilder physique by walking, so that can be a downside for some people. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still incorporate walking into your daily routine!
You see, walking can be the catalyst to make your gains from your gym sessions really show.
With the help of cardio, you can get rid of excess body fat while simultaneously keeping your heart healthy. Strength gains are great, but they shouldn’t be your sole focus.
Different ways to incorporate walking into your daily life
So, you’ve decided to start walking more in order to reap all those amazing benefits – where do you start? Here are some ways to incorporate walking into your daily life:
1Walking to work or to the store
If you are lucky enough to live in the proximity of your workplace or grocery store, you can use those little trips that you would usually drive to get some extra steps in.
If you have to take the car or public transport for those things, consider parking further away or getting off at an earlier stop and walking the rest of the way. Once you implement that into your routine, you will get some steps in without having to think much about it.
2Adding 15 minutes of walking at the end of your gym session
I know it sounds a bit boring, but if you go to the gym regularly, chances are that you can fit in an extra 15-20 minutes at the end of your workout to walk on the treadmill.
Increasing the incline will make this workout a bit more challenging and effective.
If you’re anything like me, you might hate having to walk in place for a long time.
Apart from podcasts and music, bringing a literal book or Kindle has helped the time on the treadmill fly by.
3Getting a standing desk and walking pad if you work from home or for your office
Now, this might sound like a lot of effort, but it will pay off over time! When you get a standing desk and a walking pad for your office or home office, not only will your back thank you, but your steps will increase, too.
People with a walking desk setup reported that when they walk while working, their productivity has increased and allowed them to think a lot more clearly.
This might be a great option if you are short on time outside of work!
4Walking while taking phone calls
Humans are habitual creatures. If you implement a habit, you will soon do it without having to think about it. You can use this knowledge to your advantage.
Make it a habit to start walking and pacing whenever you pick up the phone to talk to someone.
This will, over time, accumulate a lot of steps that will feel almost effortless.
5Getting a step counter for motivation
Sometimes, external motivation can be helpful, and step counters can be just that. Whether your goal is reaching a certain number of steps a day or beating your friends, step counters can make you more motivated to get up and get moving.
Fun and curious facts about walking
The average human being walks at a speed of 3.1 miles per hour.
A normal pair of sneakers will last you around 500 miles of walking.
An average person walks 65000 miles in their whole life, which is the same as walking around the Earth three times!
Let’s sum up
Walking can be an amazing way to boost your health and maintain or even lose weight. Apart from the physical benefits, many people report that walking more has helped their mental health in great capacities, so getting a few extra steps in every day might be exactly what’s needed in your life!
Not enough? Here is more
We recommend you watching this video about 5 Surprising Health Benefits of Walking according to Science by Dr. Steven Hulme.
And if you want to see what happens to your body when you start exercising, check out this video:
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