One of the most powerful ways to maintain a healthy weight, stay strong, and live longer is so shockingly simple. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other and start walking.
Research shows that regular walking actually and for at least 30 minutes, modifies your nervous system. Here are just a few of the standout benefits your body enjoys by walking:
Walking is also really easy to do! You can do it anywhere, it's easy to get started, and there’s no setup time. And, if you want to lose weight but are nervous about diving straight in to higher-impact activities, walking can help you lose body fat upfront, before you add in other types of fitness like running or biking.
On average, Americans walk about 3,000 to 4,000 steps a day, which is around 1.5 to 2 miles. That may seem low compared to the common goal of 10,000 daily steps.
Your weight, metabolism, speed, and the incline you’re walking on matter when it comes to calorie burn, says Albert Matheny, RD, CSCS, nutritional advisor to Promix Nutrition and co-founder of SoHo Strength Lab. In general, you’re looking at about 100 calories per mile if you’re moving at a brisk pace.So, if you walk one mile, you’ll burn about 100 calories. If you have the time to walk five to eight miles, you’ll probably burn 500 to 800 calories (about the same as running or biking for an hour).
Going for regular strolls helps build lower body strength by engaging your hips, abs and legs, which all collaborate to keep good balance.
Good blood circulation keeps your organs and tissues pumped full of oxygenated blood and nutrients, and is increasingly more important as we get older. Getting your blood moving is a simple and effective way to improve your circulation – a health aspect that goes hand in hand with heart health.
In a recent study, it was found that exercising three times a week can help improve cognitive function. Combine exercise with a good diet, and the benefits are even greater. After 6 months, three groups of over 65s were tasked with a series of thinking tests. The exercise and diet group averaged 47 points, the exercise-only group averaged 42 points, while the no exercise or diet group averaged 38 points.
Similarly, in a study of women aged 70 to 81, it was found that more physical activity was associated with better cognitive performance. Compared to women with a less active lifestyle, those who exercised the most had a 20% lower risk of cognitive impairment.
As the great Isaac Newton once said, " A body in motion stays in motion; a body at rest stays at rest." If we want to keep living, we must keep moving!