Five perks of walking for a healthier you!

Improve your mood and sleep 

Instead of lounging on the couch with a glass of wine or your favorite comfort food after a hard day at work, opt for a 30 min walk – it’s zero calories!  Stay connected by inviting a friend, your partner or neighbor - which boosts mood.  Exercise is also associated with stress reduction and physical well-being as well as decreasing anxiety and depressive symptoms.  Finally, walking outdoors exposes you to sunlight which encourages natural melatonin production and promotes healthier circadian rhythm (body clock) and better sleep.  

 

Increase creativity 

According to a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity – giving you the clarity you need to solve that complex problem at work or gain a new perspective about an important decision you have to make.  Research has proven that walkers are more creative that sitters. 

 

Shrink Your Waist 

Walking regularly can improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce your belly fat – even if the scale isn’t moving much.  Walking every day is one of the most effective low-impact ways to mobilize your fat and positively alter your body composition.  Daily walking can boost your metabolism by burning extra calories and helps to prevent muscle loss which is particularly important as you age. You don’t have to make it labor intensive – walking just a mile a day can aide in loss of body fat in just one month. 

 

Reduce Risk of Chronic Diseases

The physical benefits of walking are well documented. Walking helps prevent chronic disease. People who are physically active can live longer and have a lower risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, depression and some cancers. If you are currently inactive, a walking program can be a good way to increase physical activity – Just 30 minutes a day for 5 days a week or break it up into 15 minutes twice a day. 

 

Encouragement to achieve other goals   

Regular walking helps to establish a new routine.  You’re more likely to continue with that activity and willing to try new healthy behaviors - encouraging you to accomplish other goals you’ve set your mind to.  

 

Author
Image of Sharon F Sharon Fowler, IN-HC Sharon Fowler is an Integrative Institute of Nutrition trained and certified Integrative Health Coach with additional certifications in gut and hormone health.

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