How Walking Improves Your Overall Health
A walk a day keeps the doctor away! We know that’s not how the old saying goes, but walking is one of the best ways to improve and maintain your overall health. The temps are starting to drop (just a little), which means the gorgeous, crisp fall air is right around the corner. There’s no better time to take advantage of the great outdoors, than now. Physical activity doesn’t have to be rigorous or dreadful, it can be something you enjoy, such as walking! Consistency is key!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say more than 145 million adults now include walking as part of their physical activity. Chances are, you had no idea there are as many health benefits to walking, as there are. Just 30 minutes a day is proven to increase your cardiovascular fitness, strengthen your bones and muscles, release tension, give you a better nights sleep, help with digestion, and boost your metabolism. And here is how:
Each time you walk, you are building up your stamina and cardio strength. Even runners incorporate walking into their routine, to help increase their endurance. Walking may take longer, but it bestows the same endurance as running and also reduces the risk of injury. Every step you take makes your heart that much stronger.
Strengthens Bones & Muscles
Weight-bearing physical activity, such as walking, causes new bone tissue to form, leading to stronger bones. In addition, your muscles will strengthen and your balance will improve each time you get out and get active. This helps reduce falls and fractures.
Walking gives your mind a boost and improves energy levels. Like all forms of cardiovascular exercise, a brisk walk will boost endorphins. This leads to a reduction in stress hormones, mental clarity, and alleviates mild depression.
Provides Better Nights Sleep
Getting out and walking will not only trim you down, but will also give you a better nights sleep. Physical activity will boost natural sleep hormones (such as melatonin), which will keep you up less often at night. Be careful, as exercising too close to the time you go to sleep might keep you up!
Helps with Digestion
Walking can help you digest your food and boost your metabolism. How does it do this? It aids in the breaking down of food and improves your blood sugar levels. Sometimes a short walk after a meal is a good thing.
The CDC reports that adults need at least 2.5 hours a week of aerobic physical activity. This should be at a moderate level, such as a fast-paced walk for no less than 10 minutes at a time. The CDC also says less than half of all adults get that recommended amount of physical activity.
The best thing about walking is that it doesn’t require any kind of equipment or training. It is very low impact, you can do it anytime and anywhere, and you set the pace. It is a great form of physical activity for truly anyone, any age, and mostly any condition.
Did you know that walkable communities result in more physically active populations, that’s according to the CDC. We are lucky to live in Coastal Georgia, where the communities we live in offer some of the best walking spots around. There are so many beautiful and historic sights, nature trails, and iconic parks in our backyard. Here is a short list of ExperCARE’s favorite spots to take a stroll:
- Forsyth Park
- River Street
- Historic Wormsloe Site
- Bluff Drive
- Lake Mayer
- Skidaway Island State Park
- Tybee Island Beach
- J.F. Gregory Park
- Sterling Creek Park
- Fort McAllister State Park
- Green Creek Trail
Don’t forget! One of the best places to take a stroll is just out your front door – Your neighborhood! Making it easy, makes consistency more likely! Whether we decide to walk our dogs through our neighborhoods, go for a run at Forsyth Park, or get our history on walking through Fort McAllister State Park, getting physical is a must. No matter what you do, get out and get active.