The Benefits of Regular Walks
When most of us think of working out, we picture high-intensity training regimens. We picture someone running for miles a day, or straining to lift half a dozen plates on the bench press, but you don’t have to go that hard in order to get a little exercise in. In fact, if you’re a mom and you just don’t have the time or energy for that, but you want to trim a few inches off of your waist, start building strength, and lower your risk of heart problems, all you have to do is get up and go for a walk from time to time.
Is It Really That Simple?
While it might sound a little simplistic, as The Daily Mail points out, the science backs up walking as a legitimate form of exercise. Because while it is true that running allows you to get more exercise in more quickly, and it does have more overall benefits, as long as someone uses a comparable amount of energy when walking the benefits are very similar. This often means that you’ll need to walk for a significantly longer period of time than you would run, but for most people walking for half an hour can be more than enough to stimulate your muscles, get the blood flowing, and help keep you fit.
You just need to make sure you’re keeping up a healthy pace, and that you’re getting your heart to work a little harder than normal.
What Benefits Can Half an Hour of Walking Give You?
30 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time for a full body workout. After all, it’s barely the amount of time you need to watch an episode of a regular daytime TV show. However, time is only one factor when it comes to exercise, and if you stay on task you don’t need a lot of it to get a solid workout.
So what happens when you go for a relatively short walk? Well one of the first things you’ll notice according to Prevention is that you’ll start losing stubborn belly fat. Regular walking can improve your body’s response to insulin, which in turn leads to serious slimming down. Walking regularly also keeps your muscles limber, which is particularly important as you get older.
Losing fat isn’t the only benefit of a daily constitutional, however. You also cut your risk of chronic disease quite impressively. Walking lowers your blood sugar, and thus lowers your risk of diabetes. In case that wasn’t enough, though, your increase in heart rate makes your risk of cardiovascular disease lower, and it can also bring down your blood pressure. Regular walks can also impact your risk of stroke, bringing it down between 20 and 40 percent if you’re diligent.
And there’s more! Because while the physical benefits of walking are impressive (since they’re what draw most people to the activity), there are also mental benefits that come with regular walks. For example, walking is a mood booster. As you exercise, your body releases endorphins, and they can help you put a frustrating day behind you, or just pick your mood up when it’s been down. Also, in addition to the natural feel-good chemicals your brain releases when you’re physically active, walks can also help stimulate your creativity and problem-solving. Scientists found that regular walks helped people score better on creative thinking tests, getting their minds in the proper mode in order to think around complicated problems.
There is no real downside to walking. It’s simple, it requires no special equipment, and best of all it’s good for your body and your mind. All it takes is half an hour a day, and that is something most of us should be able to spare.