Health Benefits of Walking
We all know exercise is good for us, but getting up and out the door is sometimes the biggest challenge. Its time to get motivated, set some goals and get out the door! Below are 10 health benefits of walking for 10 minutes each day.
1) Improve Your Circulation
Walking improves circulation, especially of the lower legs. When our skeletal muscles contract they squeeze the veins, shunting blood back up to the heart, against gravity!
2) Lower Your Risk of Cardiovascular Diseases
Just 10 minutes daily, of light to moderate activity, can lower your risk of cardiovascular diseases; such as hypertension, and atherosclerosis.
3) Reduce Your Risk of Obesity
Regular exercise reduces the risk of obesity, helps to maintain your ideal weight, and demonstrates a healthy attitude that is necessary for successful weight loss.
4) Boost Your Mood
A few minutes outdoors a day have been shown to boost your mood. Paired with the perpetual motion of walking, a few quiet minutes to yourself, and several deep breaths, this is a winning combination.
5) Help Your Body Relax
When we are in a relaxed state of being, our stress, “fight or flight,” hormones dissipate and are replaced with relaxing, “rest and digest” hormones which promote our body’s growth and maturation, natural healing processes, and, of course, optimal digestion.
6) The Increase of Vitamin D Helps Fight Depression and Mood Disorders
UV sunlight stimulates Vitamin D production in the skin. Low levels of Vitamin D have been associated with higher risks of depression and mood disorders, low bone density, and rapidly aging skin. On the flip side, elevated levels of Vitamin D have actually been found to aid in the prevention of multiple forms of cancer! Exposure to sunlight for just 10 minutes a day; even in colder, wintery climates; can produce adequate amounts of Vitamin D naturally. However, always take appropriate precautions to protect your skin from the elements.
7) Strengthen Your Bones
Weight-bearing activity, such as walking, strengthens our bones, thereby lessening the effects of bone density loss as we age. Osteoporosis is a leading cause of fractures in the elderly and can result in life threatening complications.
8) Tone Your Muscles
Regular motion builds and maintains muscular tone throughout our lifetime. As collagen production decreases and we lose tissue elasticity over time, our muscles begin to atrophy. It is essential to our health and well-being that we maintain the function of our musculoskeltal system. It is never too late to start reversing the effects of a sedentary lifestyle. Move it, or lose it!
9) Increased Your Cognitive Function
Studies of elderly populations show a strong correlation of higher physical activity levels to significantly increased cognitive function, as well as, decreased chances- or prolonged onset- of dementia.
10) Build Your Core Muscles and Increase Your balance
Walking is one of the very early skills we all must develop to explore and navigate our surroundings. Builds core muscles and promotes
And for extra health points, consider adopting a canine family member! Not only will pet ownership motivate you (or bark at you until you get up) to get outside and walk; it is also found to considerably lessen depression, anxiety, and other mental health struggles, contributes to lower rates of allergies and upper respiratory infections, and decreases the chances of early-onset dementia and cognitive decline.