Benefits of Walking

on June 7, 2011

The benefits of walking are many, and you don’t have to walk for hours to see those benefits. While it’s obviously true that the more you walk, the faster and more pronounced benefit you’ll see, it’s equally true that every step carries a benefit for your overall health. Walking is one of the least likely exercises to result in injury, especially if you invest in shoes that are right for your feet, wear the right socks and don’t overdo it. Here are some additional benefits of walking:

Internal health. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Research shows that regular, brisk walking can reduce the risk of heart attack by the same amount as more vigorous exercise, such as jogging.” Walking is also cited as beneficial in reducing the risk of Type II diabetes or managing existing diabetes. In addition, it can be beneficial in lowering bad cholesterol while raising good cholesterol, and it also improves both vascular and lymphatic circulation. Better circulation leads to less retained fluid, as well as less chance of blood clot, stroke, heart attack and pulmonary embolism.

Fitness. Walking is a great exercise for all fitness levels, whether you’re just starting out or are a marathon runner. This is a great way to burn fat and tone muscles, even with existing osteoarthritis or other movement challenges.

Improved mental health and cognition. The better blood circulation that results from walking improves the transportation of oxygen to your brain, as well as improves your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins. The result is an improved overall sense of well-being and stress reduction, as well as improved focus and cognitive ability. According to The Franklin Institute, “Mental stimulation improves brain function and actually protects against cognitive decline, as does physical exercise.” Given this information, it’s easy to see how regular walking can greatly aid long-term vitality.

Found in: Fitness