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Health Benefits of Walking

November 07, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

Walking, a form of exercise typically gets a bad wrap as being an ineffective workout.  However, multiple sources confirm it is one of the best types of exercise that you can participate in. It is an easy, popular form of exercise that people of all ages can get involved in. Thankfully, it is also relatively risk and injury-free. Even if you are a well-trained athlete, walking can still be a welcomed addition to your physical activity line-up. Let’s review the benefits below.


1. Lower BMI and Weight Reduction

a. Many people strive to reach a 10,000 steps-a-day goal, which can be easily tracked through available devices that you can purchase or even as an included feature on your phone.  

b. While the goal of 10,000 steps should be adjusted based on age and activity status, the basic idea remains. The underlying concept is to get up and get moving, which helps burn more calories, increase muscle tone, and boost endorphin levels, which can improve your overall mood. 

c. When you burn more calories than you take in, weight loss occurs.  If you walk every day and eat relatively healthy, chances are your weight should remain consistent and your BMI or body mass index should stay in a healthy range. 

d. BMI is used to determine total body fat on a person based on weight and height.  A higher BMI indicates a higher body fat, and a lower BMI indicates a lower total body fat.


2. Improved Cardiac Function

a. Not only does walking help you achieve your ideal body weight, but it can also decrease the risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure, and decrease cholesterol.  

b. While cardiac diseases usually have a genetic component, weight and activity level can also influence heart disease.  The better you eat and the better shape you are in, the lower the risk of chronic medical conditions.


3. Improved Mood, Decreased Pain, and Lowered Stress-Levels

a. As mentioned above, exercise creates endorphins that help boosts overall mood and lowers stress levels. 

b. However, endorphins not only act as the “happy” hormone, but they also have a similar effect to that of opioids or pain medications.   

c. Pain doctors and psychiatrists alike have been known to prescribe physical activity as a treatment for anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. 


So, to get the full benefits of walking, try walking for thirty minutes every day.  Walk briskly to get your heart rate up or participate in interval training.  Interval training involves alternating between a moderate and intense walking pace.  So, try walking a minute utilizing a mild to moderate pace and then a minute walking at an intense pace. Keep up this interval cycle until your allotted exercise time is up.  This method is effective at getting your heart rate up and burning calories.  Discuss the appropriate amount of steps for you to walk each day, and then try to meet that daily minimum because walking is an easy way to kick-start your new lifestyle.