by John Stanton
The beauty of walking is in its simplicity. No specialized equipment or facilities are needed—you step out the door, and you’re ready to begin. It’s convenient, do-able for all ages and offers a long list of health benefits.
Here are some of the favourable things that walking can do for you.
Cardiovascular health. A regular routine of walking for 25 to 30 minutes at a time will boost your cardiovascular system and increase the efficiency of your heart and lungs. In addition to improved stamina and endurance, you’ll lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Immune system function. Moderate exercise has been shown to stimulate the immune system and help the body ward off unwelcome illnesses.
Bone and joint protection. Weight-bearing activities like walking help build bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis. Compared to running, walking places a lower impact on your joints, making it less likely that you’ll experience an injury.
Muscle tone. A regular walking regimen can help burn fat and give your leg muscles a solid workout. Increased muscular endurance is also a natural result of an exercise program (such as walking) that has repeated, low-intensity actions.
Confidence. Walking, running and other physical activities naturally improve your self-esteem. With continued effort comes a well-earned sense of accomplishment. Soon, you may feel inspired to set new, athletic goals for yourself.
Mental health. Getting out in the fresh air and taking a break from daily stressors can help you stay calm and focused. You are taking control and doing something meaningful for your health, which helps create positive momentum in other areas of your life.
Sleep quality. Aerobic activities like walking (performed at a moderate but sustained pace) will tire you out, leading to a good night’s sleep and an optimistic outlook in the morning.
If it sounds simple, that’s because it is. You’ll enjoy the satisfaction that comes with following a consistent walking routine, and you don’t need any special knowledge or skills to get started. Other activity choices may be complicated, but this one is a walk in the park.
John Stanton is the President and Founder of the Running Room. He is the author of 10 books about running, walking and family fitness.