The Health Benefits of Walking

April 2, 2019

If you’re looking for a great, low endurance way to add more physical activity to your days, consider walking. This is a popular exercise because it doesn’t require a gym membership or special gear / clothing. It’s also an enjoyable exercise as you can walk to places you like including nearby parks, shopping centers, etc. In addition to being a free, low endurance workout, walking has a number of health benefits discussed below.

Bone & Muscle StrengthWalking is considered a weight-bearing physical activity or movement that keeps you on your feet, forcing your legs to carry your body weight. As you engage in regular walking, new bone tissue will start to form, making your bones stronger and healthier with every stride you take. Likewise, routine walking can help improve and tone your leg and abdominal muscles as well as your arm, back, and shoulder muscles (if you swing them briskly as you walk).

Reduce Health RisksWalking has been found to increase your heart health. Cardiac risk factors like cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity are all positively influenced by walking. This simple aerobic activity temporarily increases your heart rate and blood pressure causing your heart to function at a greater efficiency. The faster you walk, the faster your heart will pump blood and oxygen to your muscles. So essentially, by walking, you are exercising your heart, which is a muscle that requires working out to stay strong. Going on a brisk walk for just 30-minutes a day will do wonders for your heart health.

Mood & StressIf you find yourself stressed or in a moody state of mind, go for a walk. Doing so will release natural endorphins to the body, which is another great benefit of this popular exercise. By getting out for some fresh air and a bit of physical movement, you can use this time to loosen up a bit and decompress. Even if you only have 10-minutes during a lunch break, use that time to take a break and go for a walk. Aim for 30-minutes of walking, three days a week. You’ll certainly find that it helps to reduce any worries or emotional distractions that may have been cluttering your thoughts.

Balance: Balance and walking work hand-in-hand with the other. As adults age, their sense of balance typically deteriorates, often resulting in falls. While some falls are minor, many can cause head and other disabling injuries such as broken hips. It is encouraged that aging adults take brisk, daily walks if they are healthy enough to do so. Although this is a low-endurance physical activity, it helps build lower-body strength, an important element of good balance. Just because you walk, doesn’t mean you won’t lose your balance and fall - anything is possible. But a good walking plan will certainly help you avoid any potential fall and / or injury.

At Touchette Regional Hospital, our compassionate medical staff is available when you need us. We encourage you to incorporate walking and exercise into your days. And if you find that you need to see one of our esteemed cardiologists, any of our podiatrists or physical therapists to help get you moving - and moving safely - we’re here to help. To learn more about our staff and our services, please click here.