6 BENEFITS OF WALKING DAILY FOR BOTH YOUNG AND OLD
Updated: Dec 13, 2019
Working out is great if you can do it. That can be a bigger 'if' for some people, though. While these days people tend to find it easier and more rewarding to carve out some time in their busy schedules to go to the gym and spend a half hour to an hour or two raising their heart rates and burning their calories, this isn't something everyone can really do.
On the other hand, even for people who do have a gym-style workout penciled into their daily schedule, it might be desirable to keep the momentum going while outside the confines of the structured, specifically-designed gym environment. So what's a person to do?
Walk, as it turns out. Daily walking is a simple, low-impact activity that can do a lot for you and your body. While many people might shrug and consider this commonplace activity to simply be part of a daily routine and thus nothing special, that might be missing the main benefit: what's better than getting something more out of a task that you're doing every day anyway? Not much, to be honest. Exercise doesn't have to be intense and sweat-soaked all the time, and you don't often have to go very far to get to do it.
Walking daily has a number of benefits for people who do it, be they young or old.
1. Take inches off your waistline.
You'll need to invest a bit of time in your walking -- first of all, making it an actual daily thing -- to unlock this particular achievement. A lot of it depends on the duration and intensity of the walk, but yes, weight loss and control can be one nice little side benefit of walking daily. 30 minutes of brisk walking daily can help you burn up to 150 calories; the math is pretty simple -- the more you walk, the more calories you can burn. Just remember to keep the rate at a good balance and don't overdo it: going for too much too quickly can increase your risk of burnout and injury. Just start off slow, and build up your endurance and tolerance for it. Also, take care of your feet: these are literally what will carry you through it, so give them a good pair of cotton compression socks to stave off fatigue and keep them comfortable enough to go the literal distance.
2. Keep blood pressure down.
This benefit can be felt even if you go for less than the usual 30-minute walk: studies have shown that a few 10-minute brisk walks (say, before and then after work? in the morning and in the afternoon?) can be as helpful as a full, long one. You can up the ante by taking three in a day if your schedule only allows for brief periods of activity: one in the morning, one around lunchtime, and one in the afternoon will do a lot.
3. Help out your heart.
Always a benefit of increased physical activity is the way it helps keep your heart rate going. It's true for people of all ages as well. A 10-year study conducted among postmenopausal women showed that those who walked regularly had a staggering 82% lower risk of heart disease than those who didn't. This sort of scientific result is where the trending belief in taking 10,000 steps a day to improve your heart health comes from; the science does support it, and that many steps doesn't actually take as much walking as it sounds, so give it a try.
4. Minimize arthritis pain.
Arthritis itself can ironically put a damper on your walking when it hits the ankles, but letting it take over completely just makes it worse. Keeping mobile while treating arthritis can help reduce the amount of pain it inflicts: start slow and keep to what you can handle, with a slow and even pace to start with that builds up over several days as your body adjusts. This will help keep inflammation and stiffness down. Putting some cotton compression socks on can help snugly hold the muscles together, easing the impact on the joints of your feet.
5. Strengthen the bones.
Our bones have cells that produce more bone matter; these osteoblasts work hard for us and can benefit from a bit of help. They actually respond well to a bit of prodding, as the added stress stimulates more bone mass production. Introducing some walking into your daily routine will give the osteoblasts reasons to produce more bone matter and strengthen your bones overall; if you're already walking and have gotten your system used to it, you can add a few more minutes to your routine to achieve this effect.
6. Lower your stress level.
Forrest Gump had the right idea, as it turns out: sometimes the best choice is really just to take to the road and let that clear your mind. Our stress levels are at an all-time historical high, oddly, despite many things in the modern world purporting to make life easier for us. As such, it might be a good idea to take a` brisk 20-30 minute walk a day, away from the madding crowd and giving yourself time to soak in some solitude. Studies suggest that it can have as similar calming effect as a mild tranquilizer, and without the side effects, at that. The reduction of mental stress is hard to put a price on, but in the case of walking, it really won't cost you a thing.