We all want to be healthier, but often don’t know where to start. We are an overloaded, multitasking society, and live with packed schedules that make it challenging to find time to cook healthy meals and exercise regularly. But what if we told you that you don’t need to spend hours exercising every single day? You can completely revolutionize your life being active for only 30 minutes a day — just by walking! By just spending the time it takes to watch one of your favorite TV shows, you can totally change your health. Here are 30 ways in which walking half an hour a day will change everything.
It Reduces Stress Levels
If there’s a way to reduce or relieve stress, we are all for trying it. Walking 30 minutes will actually help lower your stress levels. Just think about it — you’re moving, getting your blood pumping, clearing your mind, taking deep breaths, and disconnecting from whatever is stressing you. We are not robots; we have to remember that we are human, and need to move, regularly. Just taking 30 minutes to go on a brisk walk, will help you to start feeling more relaxed, less stressed, and healthier. Your sleep will also improve, which also goes a long way to help your overall stress levels.
You Will Maintain or Lose Weight
It is proven that if we burn more calories than we take in, then we will lose weight. If you want to maintain your weight, you balance the calories in with the amount of exercise you do (online health calculators can help with this). But regardless of whether you want to lose some pounds, walking will help with your overall health. And you don’t have to walk the 30 recommended minimum minutes all at once. Try three short walks of 10 minutes each (easier to do during a work day of 2 15-minute breaks, and an hour lunch), so you can have time to exercise during your busy day.
It Will Preserve or Maintain Heart Health
If you’re looking for another reason to get up from the office desk or couch and get walking, we have one. Walking will help maintain your heart health. It will also prevent heart problems in the future. In fact, a study showed that walking lowers your risk of cardiovascular events by 31% and cuts the risk of dying by 32%. Your heart is a muscle and benefits from exercise. When you get the heart pumping, you are increasing your heart rate and giving your body a full cardio workout. The American Heart Association/American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you walk briskly for a minimum of 30 minutes, for five days a week.
You Will Increase Your Energy Levels
We are grasping for ways to get more energy. We reach for coffee in the mornings, and during the midday slump. But too much caffeine isn’t good for you, and you have to find natural sources of energy from within your body, and not just rely on a coffee cup. Walking will give you that energy. Sure, you’ll have your days when you feel too tired to walk in the first place, but once you do that energy will start kicking in. Make walking a habit (at least 30 minutes for at least five days a week) and you will start to feel more energetic!
This Will Become Nne of Your Forms of Self-Care
Many of us naturally put our loved one’s needs before our own, often putting ourselves last and neglecting our own well-being. Self-care is not a luxury, it is a necessity! You can’t be your best for others if you are running on an empty tank. Walking is a great way to practice self-care. You are taking time to step away from your day-to-day activities to get your body moving, clear your mind, and make your health a priority. If you really want to disconnect, don’t interact with your phone and be in the moment. Go outside and get yourself some fresh air and Vitamin D!
Your Mood Will Improve
It’s easy to be in a bad, irritable mood when you are tired and have all this internal energy you need to burn off. Walking will get your whole body in motion. Within 20 minutes your body will release those feel-good endorphins that will improve your overall mood. You will also feel good that you are taking care of yourself and doing what human bodies are meant to do, which is to move. We weren’t meant to be so sedentary and to sit down for so long. Once you change up how your body moves within a day and from day-to-day, you will feel better, which in turn will make your mood better.
It Could Help With Depression
Walking goes beyond just improving your mood. It can also help ease the symptoms of depression. An Australian study found that walking “will improve the quality of life for depressed middle-aged women.” It specifies that those who did 200 minutes of walking or 150 minutes of moderate exercise (like swimming, aerobics, golf, tennis, or line-dancing), felt better emotionally,” and “had more energy,” among other benefits. It’s hard to feel inspired enough when you are in the midst of depression. You may not feel like getting out there and walking during an episode, but it will make you feel better, and that goes a long way. In fact, 90 minutes outside will decrease depressive thoughts.
You Will Reduce Your Risk of Colon Cancer
We walk usually to get in some exercise and perhaps to tone up or lose weight, but the health benefits go far beyond that. Walking will actually reduce your risk for a variety of cancers, including colon cancer. In fact, a study showed that just taking a stroll for just 30 minutes a day will reduce your risk of dying from the disease. So, not only are you getting in shape in half an hour, but you could also be working towards preventing cancer. In the process, you are also helping to lengthen your life! We will sign up for that!
You Will Increase Your Creativity
When you walk, you can take the opportunity to clear your mind and release any pent-up energy you may have. Walking might even inspire you to get creative. The strolling for 30 minutes could trigger ideas. A Stanford study showed that people actually become more creative as a result of walking. By how much, you ask? Can you believe your creative output goes up on average, a whopping 60% when walking? How amazing is that? Not only do you get some exercise in, a chance to get away from the desk, and an opportunity to clear your mind, but chances that walk will also trigger some great creative ideas!
It Will Relieve Lower Back Pain
When you drive you’re sitting. When you have an office job you’re also sitting. And if you’re the type to crash on the couch when you get home, that’s more sitting. Our bodies are almost always in a sitting position. You may have a sore lower back because of this, especially if you don’t get enough exercise in during the week. Walking allows you to spend a good chunk of time in a standing position, and to get your body and back moving in this manner. It will actually help relieve back pain if you have it. Walking also helps your lower back because when you walk, you release “pain-inhibiting endorphins.”
You Will Improve Your Decision Making
We make decisions all day, every day. Naturally, we want to make the best ones, and be in the right state of mind and health to do that. Walking will actually make it easier for you to make solid, kick-ass decisions. It will also help with problem-solving. These two things are crucial to a successful, efficient work place. If you’re a manager or just want to do your job better, no matter what your work role, take a break and go for a short, brisk walk. You will return more clear-headed and ready to make the decisions needed to move your business forward.
It Will Increase Functioning of Your Lungs
A brisk walk will sometimes have you coughing, as your lungs clear out all the bad and take in all the good. According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, walking briskly and regularly for 30 minutes will strengthen your lungs, and increase your lung capacity. Just look at all the benefits you get just from walking a bit more than you do already every day! The good thing is that once you get started, it will get easier to incorporate 30 minutes of walking into your day and week. Anything can become a habit if you stick to it regularly.
It Can Help Boost Your Immune System
It looks like walking has a large variety of health benefits. Another one we wanted to mention is that walking will help boost your immune system. This will help the body fight against many different ailments. You want your body to be strong and working at its best, and often that isn’t the case. We can all use a boost, and walking just 30 minutes a day will deliver that. It’s a small amount of time and effort which will pay off in your health and happiness. Speaking of the immune system, we also included the above visual, to show you foods that will also help boost it!
It Will Increase Your Circulation
Walking gets your heart pumping, and your blood moving faster throughout your body. This helps a lot with your circulation. It also helps with varicose veins, should you have those. Your body is meant to move more than it probably does today. It’s not your fault. We live in a time with everything so close by, convenient, and easy to get to, that we often don’t have to move at all — if we don’t want to. Today, we really have to make that extra effort to incorporate more movement and exercise into our daily and weekly routine. Just taking a quick, 30-minute walk each day will get your circulation flowing as it should.
It Will Lower Blood Sugar and Help Prevent Diabetes
Diabetes is a health crisis that is affecting 2.91 million people in the United States (as of 2017). Doing something as simple as walking can lower your blood sugar. By doing this, it also helps prevent diabetes. We are seeing more and more reasons to add walking into your already-busy schedule. Try wearing an inexpensive pedometer (your phone might also have one). Aim to get 10,000 steps a day (you can try walking during one of your 15-minute work breaks). In the process, you will burn 400 to 500 calories each day, and also lower your risk of getting diabetes, cancer, and having a stroke.
It Will Strengthen and Tone Your Legs
Different types of exercises are good for different parts of the body. Walking on a regular basis has been shown to strengthen and tone the legs. It also helps with varicose veins and circulation in the legs, which is an added bonus. If walking on a treadmill at the gym doesn’t seem like something you’d want to do, why not park a little further away when you go shopping or to run errands? Or walk to a place you normally drive to? Since you can walk virtually anywhere, you can find ways to add in some extra walking here and there. Instead of 30 minutes at a time, break it up throughout your day.
It Will Help Reduce Sugar Cravings
If you’re like me, you have a major sweet tooth. But what if I told you that walking can help reduce those sugar cravings? It does! Not only do you get more fitness by walking, but by doing so, you will also help yourself to eat healthier. It’s a win-win situation. Also, you will find that when you amp up your exercise, you’ll learn what it takes to burn a certain number of calories, and will start making better food choices. You’ll also feel healthier, and will want to eat better as a result. It’s a healthy cycle you will want to be a part of.
It Will Increase Your Metabolism
Walking can reduce sugar cravings, but it also helps rev up your metabolism. Just exercising for 20 minutes at a time will keep your body burning calories long after your workout. This is great if you feel your metabolism has been getting a little sluggish (your metabolism also naturally slows down as we age), or just want to counter the effects of natural aging. And who doesn’t love the fact that your workout will burn more of your meals after you’re done working out? It’s a relatively small investment that revolutionizes how you metabolize your food.
It Will Increase Coordination and Balance
As if walking needed any more benefits, it also helps with coordination and balance. This is especially good for older people since coordination and balance tend to decrease with aging. But don’t worry, you don’t have to walk for hours on end to reap these benefits. Just 30 minutes a day will do wonders. If you are also looking to lose weight, walking 60 minutes a day can help do the trick. Probably the most important thing to keep in mind is to be as consistent as you can with your walking, so the benefits can really show over time.
You Will Cut Your Alzheimer’s Risk in Half
Alzheimer’s is a disease none of us want to get when we’re older. Nor do we want any of our loved ones to get. Regular physical activity, which includes walking, has been shown to reduce your chances of getting dementia, including Alzheimer’s by a whopping 50%. We often neglect to connect the dots on how the body and brain work together, and how one is influenced by the other. Just increasing your activity can keep your brain sharper and help it actually continue to grow as we age. Exercise shouldn’t be seen as a luxury. It’s truly a healthful necessity.
It Will Help Reduce Stress Eating
If you consistently reach for food when you feel frazzled, you may be a stress eater. You end up indulging in something you wouldn’t eat at that time, to make yourself feel instantly better. Unfortunately, this means poor food choices, eating at the wrong times, and eating more than you would if you weren’t stressed out. Walking can help you if you are a stress eater. When you find yourself going to grab a snack when you feel tense, go on a quick walk instead. It can be outside or even just going up and down your hallways at work or home. Walking naturally relieves stress, and by changing how you respond to it, you are replacing an unhealthy habit with a good one.
You Will Delay Ageing
Everyone wants the scoop on how we can keep from aging. It’s literally a $250 billion dollar industry. Before you reach for those pricey anti-wrinkle creams and sign up for a nip and tuck, why not start simple? Walking actually helps you fight aging! You will feel better, look better, and get this — live longer. In a study, those anti-ageing benefits that people saw from doing “daily moderate exercise” totaled about three to seven years that they could add to their life. If you knew that walking could change your life in such a huge way, wouldn’t you want to do way more of it? Well, now you know!
You Will Reduce Your Stroke Risk
Strokes can strike without warning. A person will seem perfectly healthy, showing no symptoms until the stroke itself happens. While we can feel helpless in protecting ourselves from such a silent killer, it is encouraging to know that walking can reduce our risk. A 2010 study found that women who walked briskly (“3 miles per hour or faster”), reduced their risk of getting any kind of stroke by 37%. For those who prefer to walk slower, you’re in luck. The study also showed that those women who walked two and a half hours a week reduced their risk of getting any kind of stroke by 30%.
You Will Promote Restful Sleep
Sleep is gold. We are all aim to get a lot done during the day and get enough sleep at night. But it doesn’t always work out that way. But did you know that walking will promote restful sleep? It makes sense, right? When you’re exercising your body, you naturally want to rest afterward. Your body will want to sleep, as it repairs itself in this state. Exercise also makes you feel more relaxed afterward, which makes falling asleep easier. You can learn more about how walking —even for just 10 minutes — can really help the quality of your sleep time here.
It Will Improve Your Posture
Our posture can really get affected from sitting all day, be it in our car, the office, or at home. We don’t often practice the right form in these kinds of scenarios. Imagine how much time it all adds up to! Walking can help us improve our posture. When we walk, we are forced to stand upright, and straighter. We walk with more purpose and style when it’s for exercise, versus everyday, casual walking. If we pay attention, we can remember to keep our head, neck, shoulders, and arms in the optimal position to ensure our posture is at is best. Ideally, this will trickle down to our posture at home, work, and beyond.
You Will Lower Blood Pressure and Reduce High BP Risk
High blood pressure is something that no one wants. When you make it a point to walk briskly for at least 30 minutes a day, you are actively lowering your blood pressure. In addition, you are also reducing your risk of getting high blood pressure in the first place. What we’ve seen in this roundup of health benefits is that little tweaks in your fitness routine (or just starting a small one from scratch), can really make a huge difference in your health. Now we know that it’s worth it to put in the effort to walk 30 minutes — just look at the returns on that investment!
You Will Enhance Your Memory
We can all benefit from a memory boost. We want our brain to be sharp at all times and to remember important things, without worry. Walking can actually aid in enhancing our memory. Even if that walk is only 10 minutes. A study found that even 10 short minutes of activity was enough to improve the brain’s memory function. The brain gets so much benefit from exercise, yet we aren’t really informed about this when we learn about fitness. We tend to think we are just toning our bodies, but exercises such as walking, are a true full body and mind workout worth investing in.
It Will Lower Your Cholesterol
Walking has a beneficial effect on your health, that has been proven. It’s important to know as many different ways as possible, as this really gets you wanting to ramp up the amount of time you walk per day, per week, per month, and per year. Once you realize all the benefits of doing something as low-cost and easy as brisk walking, you won’t want to say no to it. One great perk of walking is that it lowers your bad cholesterol. It also raises your good cholesterol, so it acts as a double-duty tool you can use to make sure your cholesterol levels are optimal.
It Will Increase Your Self-Esteem
When you take better care of yourself, it starts showing in all aspects of your life. This includes doing something as simple as walking more each day. You will feel better physically, emotionally, and mentally. You may look better. And each time you complete your walk, you have committed to doing something and then accomplishing it. Really, what better feeling is there? Walking consistently increases your self-esteem, and we are all here for that. It’s a way a healthy way to put yourself as a priority. It’s a way of telling yourself: “I’m going to do something” and getting it done. Those are the small victories that build all of us up.
It Will Improve Your Overall Fitness
Hopefully, all these different reasons for walking will help motivate you to make time for it. It’s free to do, requires no exercise equipment, and you already know how to do it! And there are so many benefits to walking that it almost seems criminal not to. It improves your overall fitness, well-being, and will contribute to making you the very best person you can be. If you have time to watch several TV shows, worry about things outside of your control, or to indulge in things you probably shouldn’t, you have the time to improve your life! Si se puede!