What do you dislike about walking? It’s free. It’s easy to do, and it’s easy on the joints. Walking is undoubtedly good for you. A University of Tennessee study found that women who walk have less body fat than those who don’t. It also reduces the risk of blood clots, as the calf acts as a venous pump, contracting and pumping blood from the feet and legs back to the heart, reducing the load on the heart. In addition to being an easy aerobic exercise, walking is good for you in many other ways.
The Benefits of Walking
1. Improve Circulation
By walking, you prevent heart disease, improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure, and strengthen your heart. Walking 1 to 2 miles daily can reduce blood pressure by 11 points in 24 weeks in postmenopausal women. Women who walk 30 minutes a day can reduce their stroke risk by 20%, and by 40% when they get up at their pace, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
2. Support your bones
Walking can stop the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis, according to Michael Schwartz, MD, a Blanche orthopedic and sports medicine physician in New York. In fact, one study of postmenopausal women found that 30 minutes of walking each day reduced the risk of hip fractures by 40%.
3. Enjoy a Longer Life
Research has found that people who exercise regularly in their 50s and 60s are 35% less likely to die over the next eight years than their counterparts who don’t walk. This number rises up to 45% less likely for those with underlying health conditions.
4. Lighten your mood
Walking releases the natural pain reliever endorphins—one of the emotional benefits of exercise. A study conducted by California State University, Long Beach, showed that the more steps people take during the day, the better their mood.
5. Lose Weight
A brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories. Over time, burning calories can lead to weight loss
6. Muscle strengthening
Walking activates your leg and stomach muscles — and even your arm muscles if you pump them up while walking. Doing this will allow you to move more freely and shift pressure and weight away from your joints and onto your muscles.
7. Improve Sleep
Studies have found that women aged 50 to 75 who walked for an hour in the morning were more likely to have insomnia relief than women who did not walk.
8. Support Your Joints
The majority of articular cartilage does not have a direct blood supply. It gets its nourishment from the joint fluid that circulates as we move. The movement and pressure from walking “crushes” the cartilage, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the area.
9. Improve Your Breath
When you walk, your breathing rate increases, which causes oxygen to move faster through your bloodstream, which helps eliminate waste and improve your energy level and ability to heal.
10. Slowing down mental decline
A study of 6,000 women, 65 and older, conducted by researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, found that age-related memory decline was lower in those who walked more. Women who walked 2.5 miles a day had a 17% decrease in memory, versus a 25% decrease in women who walked less than half a mile a week.
11. Reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease
A study from the University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville found that men ages 71 to 93 who walk more than a quarter of a mile a day have half the rate of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease than those who walk less.
12. Do More for Longer
Walking and aerobic resistance exercise programs may reduce the incidence of impairment in activities of daily living for people over age 65 with symptoms of arthritis, according to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Outcome Management.