Step to It: The Many Benefits of Walking

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Exercise comes in many different forms, but one of the most beneficial for your health might be the walks you take throughout your day. Walking for exercise, which is low-impact and a part of most of our daily routines, offers a wealth of good to your heart, immune system, cortisol levels (yes, that little hormone that stress creates, and more).

What Are the Health Benefits of Walking?

When it comes to the benefits of walking, the Mayo Clinic says that a “brisk walk” every day can yield all of the aforementioned things and “strengthen your bones and muscles, improve muscle endurance, increase energy levels, improve your mood, cognition, memory and sleep,” and “improve your balance and coordination.” 

“The faster, farther and more frequently you walk, the greater the benefits,” says the organization. “For example, you may start out as an average walker, and then work your way up to walking faster and walking a mile in a shorter amount of time than an average walker, similar to power walkers.”

 Walking for Exercise

Lest you think you can’t do this, Timothy Lyman, certified personal trainer and director of training programs at Fleet Feet Pittsburgh, emphasized to USA Today that “[walking has] a low barrier to entry compared with other methods of physical fitness. In addition, there is no minimum effective dose or, barring injury and/or pain, upper limit. The more you move, the better off you will be.”

In the event you’re unclear on your form, don’t worry: Mayo Clinic has you covered there, too.  You’ll make the most of your walking benefits with your head up, looking forward with your neck, shoulders and back relaxed. Your arms should swing freely, stomach muscles should be “slightly tightened” and your back straight. They also suggest “rolling your foot from heel to toe.”

As if all of those benefits were not enough, walking has even been proven to help your mind in myriad ways. As NBC News reported, one Stanford University study “found that walking increased creative output by an average of 60%” while another study published in the National Library of Medicine “found that just 12 minutes of walking resulted in an increase in joviality, vigor, attentiveness and self-confidence versus the same time spent sitting.”

So, what are you waiting for? Go for a walk and, if you need, maybe get yourself some new walking shoes while you’re at it.

Tags: exercise, health, wellness

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Written By

Rose Low

Rose Low is a writer based in New York, with a background in social media strategy and reporting. She has a Masters from NYU and a love for romantic comedies. See Full Bio

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