Walking is one of the most accessible, cheapest, and most beneficial forms of exercise worldwide. There’s no need to drive to the gym or use a lot of fitness equipment; just go for a walk, get some fresh air, and experience one of the easiest ways to improve your quality of life.
Taking a walk is never a bad idea, and you should be doing it every day. You don’t even have to think of walking as a form of exercise – see it as a leisurely stroll that gets you out of the house. Even a 10 minute walk will boost your mood! Go out for a walk and see how it improves your life; you will be thanking yourself in no time. A morning walk benefits you with much more than just getting the blood pumping.
In this guide, we will highlight all the benefits of a good walk, and show you why should trade your heels for a decent pair of flats.
The Health Benefits of Walking
If you choose to take a 30 minutes morning walk each day, you will prolong your life expectancy. Yes, you’ve read that right. Walking can give you a new outlook on life and is simply the most accessible form of exercise to fit into your schedule.
1. Linked to Lower Rates of Depression
Depression is a common ailment and extremely dangerous if ignored. As life happens, your depression can become crippling. By simply opening your front door and putting one foot in front of the other, you can reduce the severity of depression to some extent. Note, we are not saying that walking will cure your depression, but if you notice your depression worsening, you are probably sitting on the couch watching television more often than you should.
Depression leads to less activity and can make you feel negative about yourself, which induces higher rates of depression. It is a vicious spiral. Making the decision to stand up, put on your trainers, and go for a simple walk around the block can literally save your life and make you not only physically healthier but also mentally.
2. Can Help Reduce Stress
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reported that some studies have proven that a 10-minute walk could make you feel calmer and reduce stress and anxiety. Just a brisk walk can do wonders, so why not go for a quick walk to improve your mental health, instead of taking out frustrations on a punching bag?
Going out for a long walk reduces stress for many reasons, but the outdoors is Mother Nature’s healer and offers a great place to clear your mind.
3. Associated With Longer Life Expectancy
Many different factors play a role in your life expectancy, such as overall healthy living, but taking a walk is considered one of the most beneficial aerobics exercises, and exercising, as you know by now, is extremely important for longevity.
4. Helps Keep Your Knees Healthy and Pain-Free
Walking is not an intense workout and actually assists in maintaining healthy bones and joints. It doesn’t put too much stress on your knees and will help strengthen muscles in the surrounding area. In the beginning, it will be difficult, but you can work up to a brisker pace and a longer workout as the pain in your knees starts to hit the road.
5. May Lower the Risk of Hip Fractures
Sway those hips and keep them ‘unfractured’ and healthy. Physical activity, like going for a walk can reduce the risk of hip fractures in older women, although overdoing it is never a good idea. Walking is the best overall exercise for older adults and can increase femoral bone density, which leads to a reduced risk of hip fracture.
6. Might Lower the Risk and Severity of a Stroke
Strokes are on the rise each year. A morning walk benefits your heart and could save you from getting an untimely stroke because it keeps the heart strong and healthy. A recent study by the University of South Carolina proved that five brisk morning walks each week could help lower the risk and severity of strokes. Go for a walk and take care of your heart.
Stroke victims could also see good results in regular walks as it promotes functional recovery after a stroke and could help you restore your health.
7. Linked to Lower Rates of Cardiovascular Disease
Heart disease is not easy to control. However, a morning walk benefits you as it helps to prevent and manage the disease. Brisk walking is one of the most productive and most accessible methods for adults to avoid inactivity, boost their heart rate, and increase physical fitness levels. So jump up, keep walking, and get your health back on track.
8. Associated With Fewer and Less Severe Colds
Moderately intensive exercise, including brisk walks, can significantly fight the onset of colds and their severity. The overall health benefits that walking provides you could also help to reduce the risk and severity of other diseases.
9. Linked to Lower Blood Pressure
Did you know that you can lower your blood pressure by taking a walk every day? Go for a walk to reduce blood vessel stiffness, which improves blood circulation and, in turn, lowers your blood pressure. Starting your day with a morning walk will promote better overall health, and significantly improve your mood.
10. Associated with Lower Levels of Anxiety
Anxiety and stress go hand in hand with an unhealthy lifestyle, or should we say foot by foot? However, anxiety can be beaten with a quick walk. Even giving your trainers a good run-in could be the ultimate showdown between you and your anxiety. Physical activity is widely linked with combatting stress and anxiety, so why not run it out?
11. Helps Soothe Anger
Angry? Go out for a walk, listen to the birds, look at the clouds, and the green of the leaves (and the road, obviously). Now is not the time to give in to road rage. Walking can significantly reduce anger and improve your mood and is recommended by many anger management therapists.
12. Helps Fight Fatigue and Boost Energy
You’ve probably experienced that boost of energy after a good exercise session. Intense cardio or CrossFit session can easily lead to a boost of energy, followed by a good night’s sleep. Slow things down and take a 30 minute morning walk. You can even plan dinner, and just have some ‘me time’ as you probably won’t have the chance again during the day.
The natural boost of energy you get from a morning walk is thanks to the fact that exercise burns the body’s stored calories. What’s more, even a short walk can significantly reduce your risk of developing type 1 diabetes.
13. Associated With Reduced Risk of Glaucoma
Go for a walk, and you will almost instantly feel healthier. Cancer and glaucoma are also on the rise in today’s rushed world. By simply going for a walk every morning, you are already lowering your risk of diseases such as cancer, glaucoma, and other dangerous conditions.
A dull lifestyle has proven to cause serious illnesses, and by taking a walk and getting some fresh air into your lungs, you can work wonders to take control of your health.
14. Linked to Lower Rates and Slower Progression of Alzheimer’s
Taking regular walks can delay and reduce the risks involved with Alzheimer’s development. Go out for a walk and reduce the risk of both Alzheimer’s and dementia by up to 54% – all these benefits by just putting one foot in front of the other.
15. Can Help Ease Lower Back Pain
Ever heard of walking away from your back pain? By taking short walks and taking them easy, you will be able to get rid of back pain and strengthen the muscles that support your spine.
16. Associate With Better Brain Health
Regular exercise such as a morning walk can help protect your brain and improve overall brain function. Forgot to take dinner out of the freezer or pick the kids up from school? Mabey its time to go for a walk. So, there you have it, not only does a morning walk keep your body rejuvenated but boost your brain function to boot.
17. May Help Improve Cholesterol Levels
Cholesterol is not something you can get rid of entirely. Our bodies need a certain amount of cholesterol to maintain our health and develop cell membranes. However, you are at greater risk of heart problems with high cholesterol levels, and you should try to keep the levels low simply by going for a morning walk. That said, excessive exercise is dangerous if your LDL cholesterol levels are too high, so take it slow and pace yourself if you fall into this category.
18. Can Help with Weight Management
Managing your weight in a busy life is not just a mission impossible; it’s a sad and frustrating novella that you can never even finish reading. But it doesn’t have to be – a walking workout will help you to manage your weight because of the great exercise you are getting.
Many experts believe you can healthily lose weight without even going on a strict diet – Simply plan your walking program, and stay with it. As observed in obesity, it’s also one of the most practical methods of exercise and aids with weight loss.
19. Can Help You Sleep Better
Are you struggling to sleep? It’s a well-known fact that you will have a peaceful night’s sleep and wake up refreshed if you exercise before bedtime. Sleep is crucial as it gives us the energy we need to get through the day. If you are working in an office or in front of a computer, and don’t have an active lifestyle, you should not only consider but follow through with a morning walk each day.
Tips to Walk More throughout Your Day
Morning walks are a popular way to start your day, but if you’re not doing it right, you may actually be spicing up the problem with even more problems. Let’s look at some of the common mistakes to avoid in your newly found healing activity.
- Vitamin D is best consumed between 11 am and 2 pm as the sun is out and about and ready to spike your run with a good dose vitamin D.
- Keep an eye on your posture – a straight posture could even help tone your abs.
- Lose your pounds next to the road, hill, forest, or routes by making your walking routine a bit more ‘brisk.’ The faster you walk, the more calories you will burn.
- Never go for a walk after eating or drinking a lot of water, as walking can affect the flow of digestive juices and prevent food from breaking down properly.
Follow these tips, and you will be feeling the benefits of morning walks in a couple of steps.
What do I Need to Start Walking?
Walking doesn’t require much, just willingness, some lung capacity, and a few must-haves on our list;
- Sports Bra (Who doesn’t like shopping for a new bra?)
- Sports T-shirt (More shopping)
- A good trusty hairband
- A water bottle (Stay juiced and hydrated)
- Good trainers (Shoe shopping!)
- Comfortable bottoms, like leggings
Just Keep Walking
Staying healthy, losing weight, and staying fit is all about consistency. Go for your daily walk and stick to this daily routine. The morning hours are fresher and crispier with less pollution. Start your day with a breath of fresh air that will rejuvenate your cells and give you that extra pep in your step. You will start your day with a healthy mind and an injection of oxygen while giving yourself the health benefits you deserve. If you live close to a forest trail or the beach, this is a great way to get out and about to look at the beautiful scenery before the rush kicks in.
Reinette Robbertze is a highly qualified professional in the health and nutrition industry, having completed both Journalism and Nutrition diplomas. With a remarkable portfolio of health blogs and magazine articles to her name, Reinette’s writing is fueled by her genuine passion for healthy living. Drawing on her academic background, Reinette delivers authentic and insightful information to her readers. Her engaging writing style, blended with personal anecdotes, creates an immersive experience that keeps readers engaged and informed. Keep following her work for the latest updates and informative articles on health and nutrition.