Why Is Walking Good for You?

Looking for a form of exercise that not only provides a beautiful view and lowers blood pressure? Look no further: walking will be your new best friend.

I have always been a busy person and still am. Also, I never was a fan of running, but I wanted to find a workout that I enjoyed. I loved being outside, and I wanted to incorporate mindfulness into my exercise routine.

Walking isn’t just for getting around: it can also be a highly effective way of keeping you in good shape! Here are some excellent reasons why you should walk, not run, for weight loss and better health.

Walking is an excellent choice

Fit woman walking in park during autumn time

Most people are aware that inactivity leads to obesity and poor health. We all want to ‘run’ away from that happening, but what some of us don’t know is that it also can work against us and our mental health.

When I was searching for a way to stay fit and to keep my mind in shape, I looked into walking and if I could get the benefits I craved from it. With a proper routine, vigorous walking can eventually lead to a substantial improvement in your quality of life. Here is what I found to be beneficial from walking.

Benefits of walking

You do not need to join a gym, nor is special special equipment is needed. You can stop watching OVC, and won’t need to worry about making those monthly payments for the new pilates machine you will never use. Besides all the money you will save take a look at the physical and mental health benefits of walking:

– Lowers your blood pressure
– Improves your mood and self-esteem
– Helps to reduce anxiety and depression
– Helps you to sleep better and to have a positive outlook
– Provides relief from joint swelling and pain from arthritis (Nobody wants that as they get older!)
– Supports strong bones, lean muscle tissue and joint health
– Minimizes stress, and thereby decreases the risk of heart disease
– Burns calories for weight loss and weight management

Here are some  thoughts on how walking in combination with better eating can add to your diet success.

Why I walk instead of run

Full body portrait of two fit young women walking on beach

In recent studies from the American Heart Association, data from two studies observed that, for the same amount of energy used, walkers received greater weight loss and health benefits than runners.

Walking reduces the risk of heart disease by 9.3%, while running reduces it by 4.5%. Walking also has a more potent effect on heart disease risk factors from a caloric perspective.

Here are some benefits of walking over running:

1. Walking results in fewer injuries than running. If you aren’t the most graceful gal, this might just work in your favor.
2. Walkers can usually walk in whatever apparel they are wearing with a quick change into a pair of comfortable shoes. I do this at work. I can still wear my heels, get my workout in and change back to being work ready.
3. Walking stimulates your brain and enhances your attention and working memory—particularly if you do a nature walk. This is where the mindfulness exercises take over: not only will you be less stressed after this, but you will also lower your blood pressure.
4. Walkers perspire and sweat less than runners do, making it possible for them to exercise without requiring a shower immediately after they’re done. I still bring my baby wipes with me, but this is perfect for getting a workout in during the work day.

A walk a day keeps the doctor away

Hiker with backpack walking through the countryside

Set up your walking program to get in approximately 30 minutes of brisk walking at least three to four days a week. I do my walk before I start my day. Not only is it peaceful, but it also lifts my mood and makes me have a positive outlook to start the day with.

Style and comfort are key: choose walking shoes that support your arch and slightly elevate your heel with thick soles that can absorb shock. If you decide to purchase exercise gear, choose a moisture-wicking fabric that draws sweat and perspiration off the skin. Make sure you choose apparel that prevents inner-thigh rubbing. You don’t want to deal with that—it hurts!

Monitor your progress

Make sure that you set walking goals and establish milestones for rewards; monitor your progress with a walking journal. I like to walk almost anywhere and at any time. If you’re having inclement weather, walk somewhere indoors such as a mall. Sometimes I even walk around my house although this is a last resort.

It is important to start out by walking 5-10 minutes a day, working up to at least 30 minutes for all-inclusive cardiovascular benefits. Do a strength-building exercise routine at least twice a week. Consider using light hand weights to help build your upper body.

Make walking fun

The social benefits of walking are just as important for your mental health. Make walking fun by bringing a friend or pet along with you, and choose a safe location that you enjoy. You can even join a walking club. Recruit teammates or family members for an after-dinner walk; it’s perfect for family bonding time!

An easy and inexpensive way to exercise

Finally, keep in mind that a brisk walk is a great low-impact workout technique to obtain and sustain great health. It’s a smart way to keep your weight under control. Scientific studies continue to prove that walking is more beneficial to the body overall than running.

Disclaimer: The text in this article is produced for informational purposes only. They’re not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance upon any information provided in this article is at your own discretion.

Oh, and remember,

“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” – Henry David Thoreau

and , one more

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

About the author

Collin Christine McShirley

She has a masters in clinical psychology, certified from the centre for dieting and eating disorders, and specializes in emotional eating, body image, mindful eating, and self-esteem. Visit her website to learn about her programs and specials.

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