Are you the sort who burns out on a new fitness plan after a week? If so, maybe you need to return to one of the oldest, easiest and most affordable workouts known to humankind — walking.
While walking can help you maintain a healthy weight and accomplish your cardio quota, that’s far from the only perk. You’ll also improve your outlook and even your skin tone. Here are eight reasons you should go for a walk today.
Did you ever get stuck on a challenging work problem only to discover the answer came more easily after you walked away from your desk for a bit? Any form of exercise increases blood flow to your brain, delivering inspiration-giving oxygen and making your neurons fire on all cylinders.
It’s also challenging to think when you feel physically unwell. Your blood vessels require muscular contraction to keep the blood flowing upwards, and varicose veins form when blood pools in the lower legs, causing them to swell and ache. Walking is the ideal way to get your calves, hamstrings and quadriceps pumping to increase blood flow back to your heart.
Have you ever glanced in the mirror after a brisk walk outdoors and marveled at your rosy cheeks? Going for a walk can help you look better by increasing blood flow to the skin. Besides giving you healthy color, the improved circulation helps carry away impurities like free radicals before they can cause wrinkles.
Practitioners of Ayurvedic medicine also recommend exercise, like walking, for the pimple-fighting perks. However, what if sweating it up makes you break out? The problem could be your makeup — try removing it before you head out so that ingredients like silicon won’t clog your pores while you sweat.
Vitamin D isn’t really a vitamin at all — it’s a hormone that your body produces when exposed to sunlight. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t potent health stuff. Scientists are currently investigating whether supplementing with this nutrient can help fend off the novel coronavirus.
However, you don’t need to take a pill if you get outdoors and walk frequently enough. Try to expose as much of your skin to the sun as possible. Granted, you might need to bundle up during the winter months, but when you get a rare balmy day, take advantage.
Going for a walk boosts immunity in several ways. You know about vitamin D production, and getting your blood flowing likewise activates the cells that help you fight disease.
Getting outdoors for your walk can provide additional benefits. In an article published by the National Institutes for Health, scientists investigated forest bathing effects on immunity, as plants emit chemicals called phytoncides. They discovered increased activity and numbers of natural killer (NK) cells, those responsible for seeking out and destroying pathogens, among those who headed out at least once a month.
Both exercise and getting outdoors boost your mood. When you combine the two in the form of a walk, you can help bust your blues by lacing up your tennis shoes.
Physical exercise stimulates the flow of feel-good endorphins to your brain. These natural opioid-like chemicals decrease your pain sensations and make you feel good. Research also indicates that merely gazing at nature pictures improves mental outlook — submerging yourself in it has even more mood-boosting benefits.
Did you ever have one of those days where your mind is an untamed monkey, skipping from one thought to the next without letting you concentrate on any one idea at length? Get that mental primate under control by going for a walk.
Get the most out of the activity when you do by making your stroll a mindfulness activity. Challenge yourself to focus your attention only on your step and your breath — be gentle and return your thoughts to your physical actions when it runs astray. Eventually, your other concerns will stop screaming for attention, letting you take a methodical approach to tackle each problem you face.
You know it’s true — carrying too many excess pounds contributes to increased health risks. While a little extra padding won’t hurt you, one study published in the European Heart Journal indicated that men who had added five inches to their waistlines increased their heart disease risk by 16%.
Experts recommend getting 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly and walking definitely qualifies. You can even divide your half-hour up into two 15-minute segments and tackle your cardio requirements on your work breaks.
Have you ever had to walk away from an argument before you said something you couldn’t redact? Most folks have, and walking is a splendid way to tame a savage temper.
When you become aggravated, your body doesn’t differentiate between an unreasonable demand from your supervisor and an attacking mama bear. It releases a flood of adrenaline and cortisol, making you behave erratically when dealing with modern crises. Going for a walk decreases these hormone’s levels and helps you approach the conflict or problem with a clear head.
If you needed another reason to take a walk today, now you have eight. Lace-up those tennis shoes and get to stepping!