Many people think they could benefit from exercising a little more, but hitting the gym can be a hard habit to acquire and maintain. Workouts needn't be so strenuous and organized to still be useful. Walking is a simple activity that offers many benefits beyond simple physical exercise, and here are eight of the most valuable.
1) Walking is a Stress Buster
Walking is known to reduce the effects of stress. The combination of a change of scene, light physical exertion, and time spent in the open air can help to dampen the immediate impact of your worries. While walking will never be a miracle cure for all your stresses and problems, it helps to bring a more realistic perspective to them, making them easier to deal with.
2) Helps to Solve Problems
Even if you aren't suffering from stress, the calming effect of walking can help in another way. If you have a tricky problem to solve at work or at home, walking can give you a little time out and space to find a solution.
Walking removes all the competing demands on your attention, so you can concentrate freely on your dilemma, or put it out of your mind entirely to let your subconscious go to work behind the scenes.
3) Good for Your Heart
Walking is scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure, cholesterol, and the risk of heart disease. What's more, it provides these benefits without the potential physical downsides of more impactful exercise such as running, weights, or contact sports.
4) A Spur to Creativity
The repetitive physical act of walking is a great way of soothing an overstimulated brain, and this can be a great boost to creativity. Many people find that a brief walk is a simple way of resetting their mental state, and that fresh ideas flow more freely afterward.
5) Improves Natural Sleep
Taking an early morning walk can be a powerful way of combating insomnia. The open air and morning light help to reset your body's natural clock, so that when night comes around you're more ready for natural sleep.
However, be careful about taking any form of exercise too close to bedtime. You may be physically tired afterward, but the post-activity adrenaline that remains in your system can hamper sleep very effectively.
6) Better Body Confidence
The gentle exercise that walking provides is a great way to tone muscles, reduce fat, and improve poise and posture. All this goes toward increasing body confidence, and opens the doors to enjoying other forms of physical activity less self-consciously.
7) Improves Complexion
Walking in the open air can work to increase your body's levels of vitamin D, with proven benefits for supple and healthy skin. What's more, if your walk is strenuous enough to raise a light sweat, your body will be working to remove toxins and pollutants from your pores. Combine this effect with the increased blood circulation that exercise brings to your skin, and the benefits for your complexion can be huge.
8) Bring Better Relationships
Lastly, amid all the electronic distractions of the modern world, relationships between you and your loved ones can sometimes be unintentionally neglected. Taking a walk together unencumbered by digital diversions leaves space to talk or simply enjoy quiet companionship, with clear benefits for the strength of the relationship.
If you're looking to lose large amounts of weight or build muscle fast, other forms of exercise will probably be more effective. But if you want to enjoy all the benefits of getting fitter combined with these eight improvements across other aspects of life, then walking is hard to beat.
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Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional. Consult with your healthcare professional to design an appropriate exercise routine. If you experience any pain or difficulty with these exercises, stop and consult your healthcare provider.