It’s one of those days. You know you should work out. But the thought of lacing up your sneakers, grabbing your yoga mat, getting prepped for the pool, or whatever else you do to get your exercise underway doesn’t sound very appealing. Don’t worry. Go for a walk instead and you’ll still be doing something to benefit your body.
Now, we don’t want to advocate for skipping higher-intensity workouts all the time. But when you can’t muster up the motivation or you’re looking for a way to get moving you can easily enjoy with a friend, walking delivers.
And on the days where you do get your regular exercise, you might still want to look for opportunities to walk (e.g., walking meetings, walking over to happy hour). Why? We’ve got a few reasons.
What walking does for your health
Here are some of the scientifically backed benefits of taking a walk.
Banish the blues. Feeling glum? A walk might be just the thing. Getting moving, even if you’re simply putting one foot in front of the other, jumpstarts your brain’s neurotransmitters that support a good mood (think: endorphins). If you can choose a walking route that takes you through nature, all the better, since being outdoors is also linked to mood improvement.
Help your health. Walking on a regular basis reduces your blood pressure, bad cholesterol levels, and blood sugar levels.
Boost your brain. Studies have shown that walking can help your brain perform its best. Regularly walking can do everything from improving your focus to minimizing memory loss. It even seems to be linked to a greater volume of grey matter (which is an indicator of brain health).
Watch your weight. Walking is an excellent way to maintain a healthy weight. People who take 15,000 steps a day are statistically more likely to have healthy BMIs. And, sure, 15,000 steps a day is a lot. But if you use your breaks at work for a quick stroll and choose a parking spot further away on a regular basis, you can get there.
Want to get more from your walk? Choose an uphill route and pick up the pace.