“Walk it off.” You’ve heard it time and time again, and for good reason: walking is really damn good for you. As it turns out, this isn’t just some folksy advice without any scientific backing. There’s a fat handful of reasons why you should be walking more.
It’s one of the simplest exercises out there, and we’re doing it less and less in this sedentary world of office work and comfortable couches and Netflix binges. But there are so many reasons to get walking more often. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to improve your mental and physical health. Here’s why:
It ups your mood.
You probably know by now that exercise increases your output of endorphins, AKA naturally-occurring happy chemicals. In short, walking makes you happier. Patients with depression who weren’t improving with medication were told to walk more often. And it helped them get better more than just taking some pills.
It clears your mind for better problem-solving.
One of the commonest activities for a stressed out person is pacing the room or walking miles upon miles. And this makes total sense. Walking gets gears turning in your mind, too. The constantly evolving landscape (when you’re walking outside) also allows your mind to work more creatively, coming up with new solutions to problems you’ve been sitting on.
It’s good for your brain.
According to studies, walking can give your brain an energy boost and improve memory. If you’ve ever taken a long walk on a stressful day, you’ve probably felt the benefits for dealing with anxiety firsthand.
It’s super heart-healthy.
Regular walking has been connected to fewer heart attacks and strokes and lower blood pressure. Say hello to a happy, healthy heart.
It’s a healthy addiction.
Buy a Fitbit or just track it on your phone. It’s one of the easiest games you can play, and when you start logging steps per day, you get addicted. Some walking watches even set new goals for you and let you track your progress online.
It’s an easy workout.
Hate cardio? Go on a walk. It’s easy and it doesn’t require a drive to the gym, either. If you’re struggling with your weight, it’s also a good way to ease into working out your body on a daily basis – without putting your joints and bones through a beating.
You can enjoy the weather.
You can’t beat sunshine and the breeze on your face.
You can discover new places.
Going on a walk is a good excuse to explore your neighborhood, downtown, the woods, or anywhere.
People who walk more live longer.
No joke. A scientific study found that just 150 minutes of brisk walking each week (that’s less than 30 minutes a day 5 days a week) could add over 3 years to your lifespan.
It’s a great way to get social.
You could sit around drinking coffee, go out to eat, or get drinks at the bar. Or you could mix things up and go explore the woods or a new district in the city.