Everyone probably knows by now how much I LOVE my daily walks, especially in quarantine. It’s the perfect anti-stress activity, an easy way to get and stay active and a good way to give yourself a mid-day reset with some fresh air. There are so many mental, emotional and physical benefits that come from incorporating walks into your daily routine. To get started, you can create a walking route in your neighborhood, take a scenic walk on the beach or in a park or park further away from the entrance if you’re parking on the street or in a parking lot. Here’s why I love my daily walks and why I suggest them to you.
Improves mood and energy
Regular walks help improve mood, reduces stress, fight depression and increase energy levels by modifying your nervous system, especially if you’re walking in the sun or around some greenery! Walking increases oxygen flow throughout your body and levels of cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine (all the hormones that boost energy levels). The best to get these benefits is to walk for 30 minutes 3 days a week – or you can break it up into 3 10-minute walks. Whatever works best for you!
Walking is a good source of cardio that helps burn calories, which also helps with both maintaining and losing weight. Regular walking also helps improve your body’s response to insulin. The actual number of calories burned will depend on: walking speed, distance, your weight and terrain (meaning you’ll burn more calories walking uphill than on a flat surface).
Lowers blood sugar levels
Short walks after eating can help lower your blood sugar levels. A study found that 15-minute walks 3 times a day (after breakfast, lunch and dinner) helped improve blood sugar levels more than taking a 45-minute walk at any another time in the day.
Walking after eating also helps improve digestion, which is why I especially love taking my walks after dinnertime. It helps speed up the time it takes food to move from the stomach into the small intestines. It also helps you feel more satisfied after eating!
Walking can help clear your head and boost creativity. It helps by opening up a free flow of ideas because walking requires the simultaneous use of multiple parts of the brain. Walking is also an easy way to increase creativity and get your daily dose of exercise at the same time!
Improves heart health
Walking at least 30 minutes a day 5 days a week can improve heart health and reduce your risk for coronary heart disease – and it can be even more reduced depending on how long and far you walk per day!
Eases joint pain
Walking helps protect your joints and improve your range of motion and mobility by lubricating and strengthening the muscles that support the joints. Walking can also help relieve pain from stiffness by warming up your muscles and increasing blood flow to tense areas.
Brisk daily walks reduce your risk of catching a cold, the flu or other immune-related illnesses. Physical exercise like walking increases the number of white blood cells circulating in your blood, which helps fight off infections and other diseases in the body’s immune system.
Are walks included in your daily routine? I’d love to hear why YOU love them!