Among the many possible types of exercise you can do, walking may be the best single one you can choose. It has many benefits and has helped people stay healthy since humans have been on earth. Because of these benefits, it may also help you live longer.
While you could exercise at a gym or health club, walking provides the additional benefit of being free – and no special equipment is needed. You not only will save some money but you can also enjoy the fresh air, sunshine, and the scenery to help you relax on your walk. Other benefits include the following:
Walking Keeps Your Bones Strong
Walking will help to keep your bones strong. It will help to strengthen your bones as you walk because placing stress on your bones encourages your cells to increase bone mass and density.
Walking Reduces Body Fat
If you want to lose weight and body fat, walking provides you with an opportunity to do so. Weight loss will be faster when combined with good nutrition, but it also depends on how fast you walk and how long.
Walking Strengthens Your Heart
As you grow older, you want to keep your heart strong. A stronger heart results in more oxygen in your bloodstream, which helps ensure that all your organs – including your brain, continues to get a healthy amount of nutrients. This could reduce your risk of heart disease by more than 30%.
Walking Improves Brain Function
Keeping the brain sharp is always a concern among seniors. Walking has been found to decrease the normal speed at which the brain loses its cognitive abilities. As you walk more, you are apt to discover that it will sharpen your mental abilities and increase your ability to focus and stay alert. It has also been found to increase your ability to be creative and make good decisions.
Walking Helps You Feel Better
Getting your heart rate up as you walk will increase the amount of endorphins in your blood. These hormones will help you feel happier and have less pain. It can also help fight depression; the more often you walk – the better.
Walking Will Help You Sleep Better
Taking regular walks has been found to improve your sleep. Since poor sleep often results in poor performance the next day, getting a good night’s rest is important. Walking can help reduce stress and it will increase your energy levels after you get a better night’s sleep. A good night’s rest will also help you feel better about yourself and give you greater satisfaction in life.
Walking Will Help You Live Longer
Walking not only increases blood flow to all your organs, it means more oxygen to all your body parts and organs. It also means your immune system will be strengthened. Those who walk faster – walking about three miles per hour or faster – were found in a study to live an average of 87 years. This is at least 15 years longer than those who walk at a slower pace.
How Far to Walk
Although the idea has been promoted that you need to walk as many as 10,000 steps per day to have good health, more recent research claims fewer steps are all that is needed. Studies have shown that the benefits taper off once you have reached about 7,500 steps. This number fits in more closely to the 30 minutes of exercise recommended by the CDC.