Are you in a rut, stressed out about work or just feeling down that you’re not losing weight like you think you should? Many people that have weight loss and fitness goals make the mistake of turning their workouts into a full blown obstacle race or boot camp affair. Luckily, walking makes effective exercise simple. Here’s five benefits of walking so that you can improve your heart’s health, lower your stress and shrink your waistline all at once!
It Can Improve Your Memory
No matter what you age may be, strengthening your brain function—including cognitive ability and memory—should be high up there on your list. Luckily walking has been shown to do just that—according to a study conducted by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. This 2011 study showed that elderly participants were able to increase the size of the brain’s hippocampus (which controls memory and emotion.)
It Improves Your Heart’s Health
In a study conducted by Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology a few years ago, both walkers and runners were examined before and after they walked. The study found that both groups lowered their blood pressure by 4.2 percent and their risk for heart disease by 4.5 percent.
It Helps Your Energy Stay Level
Do you have an energy dip every afternoon, without fail? Or perhaps after having a hearty breakfast you’re feeling fatigued by mid-morning. No matter how busy your day may be, everyone suffers from a lack of energy, and that’s partially due to the carb rich and sugar heavy our foods are. Walking has been shown to be the perfect energetic lift we need to stay focused, productive and perky all day long. Feeling sluggish at the office, and it’s not even 2pm yet? Take a short walk around your office building and you’ll be ready to go.
It May Just Boost Your Mood
Did you know that the pace you walk when say, you’re late to meet a friend for lunch? It’s brisk, and you may even begin to perspire just a bit—but it gets your heart beating—well, that’s the pace you should walk for just ten to fifteen minutes if you want to lift your mood from hopeless to happy. The best part? It’s the healthiest mood lifter you could participate in (and it will keep on going for the next two hours.)
It Keeps the Weight Off (We Saved the Best for Last!)
Whether your goal is to lose five pounds or fifty, consider walking to be one of the best tools for consistent weight loss. Now, if you want to speed up your weight loss (just in time for bikini season), you’ll need to increase the intensity with cardio classes. However, (and according to an Australian study in which they followed the weight loss, and progress of over 800 Australians over four years), it’s the slower but consistent walking method that kept weight off. Participants who walked to work gained three pounds less than those who drove to work.
No matter what your goals may be—from weight loss to improving your heart’s health—you can walk your way to success, well-being and happiness!