Health Benefits of Walking

April 4, 201413508032424_35e3c0cd1a

For some reason, in April we celebrate National Walk to Work Day and National Walk Around Things Day. Perhaps it is because spring has (supposedly) started and it is the encouragement we need to get out there and move those legs after acting like that proverbial couch potato all winter. Also, it is a chance to reduce carbon emissions! We often take walking for granted but in reality it is one of the easiest and most natural ways to stay in shape.

Here are some of the health benefits of walking:

Cardiovascular Health:
Walking may not seem like an aerobic exercise but in fact it is. It increases your heart rate and when done regularly, it can strengthen the muscle tissue of your heart. Walking also improves the overall cholesterol levels of the heart which helps prevent heart disease.

Weight Management:
Again, it may not seem like you are burning calories but you are! Walking briskly for 30 minutes a day can have an incredible impact on the calories you burn. You are also gaining muscle mass and with increase of muscle mass comes and increase in metabolism!

Good for your Bones:
Walking strengthens your bones by stimulating them. It is also good for stimulating joints as well which could help prevent things like arthritis and osteoporosis.

Improves Mood:
Do you ever wonder why people tell you to go take a walk when you are upset? There’s a reason! First of all you are releasing endorphins into the bloodstream which is essential for a good mood and second if you are outside you are getting a dose of vitamin D which is important for many of the body’s functions.

Improves Balance:
Good balance is extremely important, and as we age, we can see why. Walking helps to build the muscles in the lower body, which is one important part of being able to balance well. If you have problems with balance, make sure you have a walking buddy to keep an eye out.

Now that the weather is starting to warm up (key word starting) make sure you get out there as often as possible and go for a walk. Make a date with a friend, bring your dog, or some music along to accompany you. An even better idea, bring nothing and just take in some much needed alone time!

-Monica Bologna

Photo Credit: Flickr/Andyman5855

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