Why You Should Walk More!
Each day I make it a goal of mine to get out and walk for at least 30 minutes. Some days this is done in the morning while other days it may take place after dinner. Whatever the case, I feel the need to move as much as possible for the simple fact that the more time I spend moving, the less time I spend sitting.
Experts recommend that we take 10,000 steps a day, when the sad truth is the average American is only taking 5117 steps per day. What is scary about this is that the definition of “sedentary” in terms of steps is anything under 5,000.
Now as an American, that is pretty dang sad if you ask me. How can the average person only be walking 117 steps over a sedentary lifestyle? This is crazy. Walking is the most simple exercise you can partake in. And with modern technology, you can watch your 3 hours of TV while walking outside in the fresh air. Hold your iPad or smart phone in front of you, pop in your headphones, and you have yourself an outdoor TV.
Below I have put together a list of benefits that you can expect to see when you start walking more. And the best part is to see these benefits you will only need to spend 30 minutes a day walking (of course though, the more the better). Take a look at the benefits of walking below, then get outside and go walk!
Benefits of Walking
1. Its easy. Simple as that…
2. It is a painless form of exercise. I can kind of understand why people may not want to lift or go out and do 10 sprints (although you should be doing this a few times a week), but walking is so simple to do and it is very light on the body. It is low impact, unlike jogging, and it can be done without getting sore.
3. Combined with proper nutrition, walking can promote weight loss. I have seen many people that all they do is eat properly and walk, and see major results in terms of fat loss. If anything walking promotes movement and when trying to lose weight the more movement the better.
4. Boosts brain power. In a study done in 2010, walking showed to help preserve memory in old age folks. In a quote from the study: “Brain size can shrink in late adulthood which can cause memory problems.” In this study walking showed to lessen memory loss and dementia by close to 50%! I dont know about you, but I always want my brain to be sharp. This one alone got me walking more…
5. Walking can prevent weight gain. One study showed that by just adding 2000 more steps to your daily routine, you can prevent yourself from gaining more weight. This of course assuming that you are not eating like crap all the time.
6. Reduces the risk of cancer. There have been multiple studies that have shown that walking can reduce your risk of cancer.
7. Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. By walking 30-60 minutes a day, you can cut your chances of heart disease and stroke by 50%.
8. Reduces the risk of diabetes. Walking improves insulin sensitivity which can greatly help with preventing diabetes.
9. Walking after meals can improve digestion.
10. Walking before meals can boost your metabolism and also allow your foods to digest easier.
11. Walking after dinner makes it easier for the body to produce Growth Hormone (GH) during sleep. GH helps us stay strong, lean, and healthy.
12. Walking helps improve sleep quality (especially when done at night). Replace your nightly TV with a nightly walk and watch as your sleep improves.
13. If you are out walking, this means you are not sitting or cheating. At night is one of the easiest times to cheat on your diet. With the dessert trigger running through our head, getting out for a walk can help eliminate that. Unless of course it is your cheat day, then you can bring the dessert on the walk with you!
14. Develops a healthy habit. Many times walking can be the start of a new healthy lifestyle. Getting out and moving more makes you feel better and can help spark a new interest in getting healthy.
15. Reduces stress. Studies have shown that walking can lessen stress and anxiety all while boosting your mood.
16. Boosts your immune system. When it is mid winter and everyone around you is sick, getting outside for some fresh air may be the answer you are looking for to avoid sickness.
17. You can easily keep doing it. Many people stop workout programs after just a few weeks for one reason or another. Walking however has a very high rate of people continuing to do it. Although I do encourage you to get on and stick with a solid workout plan, walking can be a great starting point. Get the confidence of sticking with a walking routine, then add in a more challenging plan. While continuing to walk of course!
18. It is just better than sitting around! We have our whole lives to watch TV and sit. Get outside and explore the area around you. Drive you car somewhere different and walk in new areas. Explore the great outdoors (sorry pretty sure that was a Minnesota saying!)
19. It is the perfect exercise for all ages. Everyone loves to walk, so make it a family event.
20. Just do it! Nike… You just have to start. The benefits far outweigh the negatives (if there are any)!
Walking is so simple, yet far too many people do not do it. I think you can see now just how important walking is to your overall health and wellbeing.
My challenge for you this week (and for the weeks, months, and years to come) is to get out and walk at least 30 minutes a day. Carve out a block of time to do it and just get it done. If you don’t think you have time to walk, then try multitasking while doing it. Make a conference call, read a book, grade some papers, etc. Find a way to fit it in your schedule…
If you can’t find the motivation to walk, try going with a spouse, family member, friend, colleague, etc. If those still don’t work, then get a dog. That will be a for sure motivator…
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