Walking Your Way to Health

A man goes walking with his pet dog.

Photo by James Frid on Pexels.

When you think of exercise, you might visualize a person doing a strenuous workout at the gym, lifting free weights, or building your core muscles. I regularly enjoy these forms of exercise, and each is a beneficial way to obtain physical fitness. Yet, if you find the gym is overcrowded on a particular day or a surprise in your schedule does not allow much free time, consider going for a walk. Walking may not seem like much, but it remains a healthy and advantageous activity.

How can walking improve my health?

There are numerous ways consistently walking can keep you healthy. The more you exercise, the more calories you burn. Medical experts document that walking briskly for 30 minutes daily can burn 150 more calories.

Do you need to boost your mood? Taking a walk can do that. Researchers Edwards and Loprinzi examined walking, sitting, and meditating in 2018. The pair found that a 10-minute brisk walk and meditation improved mood when compared to those who were inactive.

Your heart health may also improve with daily walks. A renowned health study observed how regular walks impacted 73,743 women between ages 50 and 79. The thorough research reported that the women who completed physical activity guidelines had a 30 percent lower chance of heart attacks or strokes in comparison to those who did not walk regularly. Keeping track of your daily steps can encourage you to walk consistently every day. A Framingham Heart study examined 638 individuals’ daily steps with an Apple Watch. Results displayed that for every 1,000 daily steps taken, a participant’s systolic blood pressure was about 0.45 points lower.

Other ways that walking assists you include:

  • strengthening your bones and muscles
  • improving muscle endurance
  • improving sleep
  • improving balance and coordination
  • boosting the immune system
  • lowering stress levels and tension

Can walking benefit my thinking skills?

Did you know that walking can help you think more clearly? Walking makes our heart pump faster, causing more oxygen and blood to circulate to the brain, muscles, and other organs. Researchers Oppezzo and Schwartz found that walking does much more than positively impact physical health. Their 2014 study discovered that walking allows people to think more creatively. Oppezzo and Schwartz noted that after spending significant time walking, 81 percent of their subjects showed more vigorous signs of creativity. Walking outside also helped participants form creative analogies more often than those who walked indoors. In 2013, scientists found that mild exercise improves memory. Their research demonstrated that individuals with probable mild cognitive impairments improved their verbal and memory skills with exercise.

If you find this article helpful, please read about finding purpose in life transitions.

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About Joey Hinojosa

Joey Hinojosa graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and graduated from Texas Tech University with a master’s degree in mass communications. He joined the Empower Brokerage team in 2022 as a marketing specialist - editor.

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