Four Health Benefits of Walking You Might Not Know

After our trip around the country, we still want to get outside and walk for our health! Just because we’re back in our own neighborhood doesn’t mean we’re done enjoying the world. Instead of seeing monuments, we’ll be seeing our neighbors and the environment all around us. We talk about the benefits of walking a lot. But, over time, a lot of people have said variations of “But only if you’re hiking, right?” and “Yes, speed walking is exercise, but walking isn’t.” We disagree. Walking — just walking — at any pace is exercise. Anything that gets you moving is exercise. Today we want to take a look at why walking is so great.

All movement helps burn calories and tone muscles. Additionally, it helps strengthen your bones, aids joint health and gets your blood circulating. It can lower blood sugar, aid heart health and improve your lung capacity. The exercise boosts sleep and can aid longevity.

But, there are some perks from walking that you might not know about. For instance, walking is linked to a lower risk of Alzheimer’s. People who walked a quarter of a mile a day between the ages of 71 and 93 were only half as likely to develop dementia and Alzheimer’s in a study. That’s a significant impact for such an achievable distance.

Another great perk of walking: it aids colon health and can ease constipation. With as little as 15 minutes a couple of times a day, you can support your digestive tract. Simply walking can help you become regular before you resort to any laxative.

Walking can also aid eye health. It can lower your intraocular pressure, which can lessen your risk for — or slow the progression of — glaucoma. The body’s systems are all connected, so it makes sense that an exercise that lowers blood pressure can also lessen the pressure in the eye.

But, the number one reason we like walking is because of its ability to raise mood. It has been found to prevent depression in multiple studies. A 30-minute walk decreases stress hormones and releases feelgood chemicals into your brain. That’s part of why we like to focus on the activity going into the weekend. Getting out and walking elevates our mood and gets us feeling great for the weekend and the week ahead. So, with all these great perks in mind, start walking and enjoying your life and better health.

Be sure to speak to a health professional before changing your routine. What might seem like a small change to others may have more significant consequences for your personal health. Your doctor can help you create a walking plan for you!

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