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The Wonders of Walking

by Beth on July 22nd, 2021

Walking is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental well-being. I make sure to get as many steps in each day as I possibly can. On vacation in Spain last week, I averaged over 16,000 steps a day! Walking is easy to do and it makes me feel good.

If you need motivation to walk more, here are some of the many benefits of walking:

  • Boosts energy – walking increases oxygen flow and levels of hormones that elevate energy levels. One study found walking to be more energizing than caffeine consumption.
  • Improves mood – multiple studies show that walking reduces anxiety, depression, and negative moods.
  • Enhances creativity – according to a Stanford study, walking increased creative output by an average of 60%.
  • Boosts immune function – a study of over 1,000 people found that those who walked for 20 minutes at least 5 days a week had 43% fewer sick days and those who did get sick had lesser symptoms.
  • Lowers body weight – a Harvard study showed the effects of obesity-promoting genes were cut in half for people who walked briskly about an hour a day.
  • Improves sleep – a 4-week study of nearly 500 people found that those who averaged the most steps reported significantly better sleep quality
  • Eases joint pain – walking protects joints by lubricating them and strengthening supporting muscles. Walking is recommended for reducing arthritis-related pain.
  • Reduces risk of disease – walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week has been shown to reduce heart disease risk by 19%. A meta-analysis of 42 studies found that walking reduced blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol, body fat, and depression.
  • Reduces breast cancer risk – an American Cancer Society study found that women who walked more than 7 hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer.
  • Slows memory decline – a recent study of 250 older adults who started walking three times a week for 40 minutes found that they gained white matter, the brain’s wiring, and cognitive improvements.

Pretty impressive, huh? I encourage you to set a goal to walk a certain number of steps each day. Walking outside boosts your well-being even more given the positive impact of being in nature. And walking with a friend adds the most important factor for well-being, social connection!

From → Health, Well-being

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