I’d Like to start this post off with a quote from the one and only Ellen DeGeneres:
“My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She’s ninety-seven now, and we don’t know where the heck she is.” ― Ellen DeGeneres
Despite the fact that Ellen’s grandmother has been lost to us (Don’t worry I am sure someone will find her eventually!), walking is extremely important for your physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.
This post will give you 25 reasons that walking is a great idea. These ideas range from physical to mental health benefits as well as reasons why walking is super easy. By the end you will definitely want to sneaker up and go for a walk!
Reasons to Walk for Physical Health Benefits
Walking is a great way to shed off some pounds and can be a boon to any fitness program. It allows you to burn calories while not putting you at any significant risk for injury, especially when you compare running vs walking. Running puts a lot more impact on your joints, and running related injuries could potentially keep you from walking anywhere!
Weight loss with walking is indeed possible and it is a great way to start getting into fitness. It is easy on your bones and muscles, and can trim your waistline. If you have the patience to go for a stroll then walking is one of the best ways to begin your weight loss journey.
“Walk to be healthy, walk to be happy.” -Charles Dickens
For older people at risk for impaired glucose tolerance, walking is a wonderful way to improve glycemic control. In only 45 minutes a day (or 3, 15 minute bouts of post-meal walking) research showed a significant decrease in glucose.
This is great news since the walking was done at a relatively low intensity. Even If you are battling type 2 diabetes, walking is a great start for regulating your blood sugar.
“Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.” -Steven Wright
Walking is one of the easiest ways to tackle high blood pressure. If you take to walking, especially after meals, you can indeed being to lower your blood pressure by increasing your heart rate and strengthening your heart muscle.
There are many other ways to lower blood pressure such as avoiding salty foods and reducing stress, but those who work in stressful environments and enjoy salty tastes might find these solutions too difficult. Walking, even at a slow pace, can be a perfect way to start to fight back and battle high blood pressure.
“But the beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations.” ― Gwyn Thomas
Walking for arthritis is truly one of the best ways to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with the condition. It is probably counter-intuitive that walking and exercising can ease troubled joints, but it is indeed one of the best decisions you can make.
For some, it might be difficult at first (Are things ever easy the first time!?) but it will be worth your effort. Currently more than half of all people with arthritis don’t walk for exercise. This amount is staggering, especially considering the health benefits that you gain from walking, even beyond those of improved arthritis symptoms!
“There comes . . . a longing never to travel again except on foot.” ― Wendell Berry
Reducing the risk of cancer is something that everyone would like to do for themselves. There is no one alive that isn’t at least a tad bit fearful of hearing the dreaded words from their doctor “you have cancer.”
To lessen the chances that this fear becomes a reality for you, start taking better care of yourself today. Getting into the habit of going for regular walks can reduce breast cancer by 25%, reduced risk of lung cancer, colon cancer, and bowel cancer.
“A vigorous five-mile walk will do more good for an unhappy but otherwise healthy adult than all the medicine and psychology in the world.” ~Paul Dudley White
Reduced Risk of Heart Disease From Walking
The results are in, increasing your steps by just 2000 per day can decrease your risk of heart disease by over 10%! Another staggering victory for the folks that decide to take a little jaunt around the neighborhood.
Slowly increase your daily steps to start to work your way up to 10,000 to dramatically reduce your risk of heart disease. However, I realize that finding ways to do this might prove difficult for those of us with more sedentary lifestyles. I personally have a desk job, and I have been forced to come up with creative ways to reach my daily fitness goals.
Luckily, I have been able to come up with quite a few tricks, and I have jotted them down in PDF form just for you.
Because I don’t want to include them all on this post due to the length, all you need to do is sign up for the Fiber Guardian mailing list and you will be sent an email with the top 10 tricks for staying active while at work! You can even print this page out and hang it up if you would like!
“Walking is magic. Can’t recommend it highly enough. I read that Plato and Aristotle did much of their brilliant thinking together while ambulating. The movement, the meditation, the health of the blood pumping, and the rhythm of footsteps… this is a primal way to connect with one’s deeper self.” -Paula Cole
Having a stroke is obviously not something any of us want to deal with and over 140,000 people die every year from this it. The major risk factors for stroke are high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. As we have talked about above, walking is sure to help control all of these issues, which will in turn reduce your risk of having a stroke.
Additionally, a study found that women who were active had a 17% less chance of having a stroke when compared to those that were less active. We are not talking about spending 3 hours in the gym every day here people. We are talking about getting your body moving and your arms pumping. All it takes is 30 minutes a day to start your journey!
“I have two doctors, my left leg and my right.” ~G.M. Trevelyan
In a study that followed over 1000 men and women, walking at least 20 minutes a day proved to be enough to provide a significant boost to the immune system. Walking reduced the number of days sick by a whopping 43%!
Think about that for a quick second. All it takes is walking around for a measly 20 minutes a day to boost your immune system and prevent illness. Wouldn’t you rather be up and moving than sick in bed?
“Walking is man’s best medicine.” -Hippocrates
Walking is an awesome way to get in shape and tone your muscles, especially is you try hill walking. This specific exercise is a great way to get a solid workout without having to go to the gym.
I personally love to hike, and I have found that working out while in nature is an easy way to enjoy the time you are spending working out!
“But the beauty is in the walking — we are betrayed by destinations.” -Gwyn Thomas
As you might be starting to realize, walking is good for quite a good number of reasons. One you might not have realized before is that walking is actually a strong way of improving balance.
Walking increases the power and ruggedness of your lower body, and can indeed help keep older people to stay upright and avoid falls. In 2013 alone, 2.5 million non-fatal falls were recorded among older adults that required a trip to the emergency room. DON’T become a statistic! Get out and get walking today!
“Some folks look at me and see a certain swagger, which in Texas is called ‘walking.'” -George W. Bush
Living a sedentary lifestyle could indeed kill you. Sitting in front of a TV for hours on end eating fast food will be sure to lead you down the wrong path. It doesn’t have to be this way though! Walking is easy, and doing it could indeed help you to live a longer, more fulfilling life.
Just walking 20 minutes a day is enough to reap the health benefits of walking!
“Above all, do not lose your desire to walk: every day I walk myself into a state of well-being and walk away from every illness; I have walked myself into my best thoughts, and I know of no thought so burdensome that one can not walk away from it” -Soren Kierkegaard
Walking for Mental Health and Brain Benefits
Walking is a great way to get out and shake off the stress of the day. I do this in my own life to digest the day, and to move on from things that I cannot change. Walking (especially on a nice day) helps to relax the mind and soothe the soul.
For more on this see How Does Exercise Reduce Stress from Every Body Walks.org. There are very interesting facts about stress that relate to walking that can be found in this article. Most notably- the body’s physiological systems are put to work communicating with each other and responding to the various needs of the body.
This stuff fascinates me, and it only serves as further evidence that we are not meant to sit around all day!
“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out, I found, was really going in.” ― John Muir
Depression is a tricky subject to talk about, especially because there are various levels of depression among all kinds of different people. Walking certainly won’t cure deep bouts of depression, but it can definitely serve to reduce its effects on your body.
This improvement comes in the form of making you feel better, live longer, and enjoying the outdoors. It is hard to be sad when the sun is beating down on your face, the birds are chirping, and smooth pavement is moving along underfoot!
“I look my best when I’m totally free, on holiday, walking on the beach.” Rosamund Pike
Walking just 5 miles per week can result in a 50% decreased risk of contracting Alzheimer’s. This is pretty incredible, as most experts recommend that we walk about 5 miles per day (10,000 steps), which would result in 7 times as many miles as you need to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
The earlier you start walking, the better chance you will have to reduce the likelihood of having to suffer through this awful and debilitating disease. If you plan to live out your retirement years in peace and relative sanity, start moving!
“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” -Rumi
Similar to the above reason, walking at least 2-3 times per week has been shown to increase the size of the brain regions that are linked to memory and planning. More than just battling Alzheimer’s, walking actually can increase your brain power and ability to focus on tasks, and recall key details. This is especially true for older people, because as you get older your risk for dementia greatly increases.
The article linked to above talks about the study more in depth, but it is pretty incredible that walking can have such an enormous impact on the brain and its ability to function as we get older.
“Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.” -Thomas Jefferson
Walking Contributes to Increased Academic Performance and Improved Cognitive Discipline in pre-adolescents
Getting rid of physical education in schools and replacing it with more time in the classroom is a joke. Teaching our kids to get used to sitting all day is surely a detriment to society.
This study, which supports the importance of children getting a break to run around for a little bit, suggests that children who play will do better in schools.
Personally, I know that when I am outside for a walk my brain gets fired up and ready to take on life’s challenges. When I think back to high school, I picture myself sitting for hours and hours with the only breaks being to walk to the next class.
Children can indeed benefit just as much from adults from moving around and going for a walk!
“Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake.” ~Wallace Stevens
Creative Synapses in the Brain Can be Fired When Walking Outdoors, Especially in Younger Children
Getting outside and walking, especially with a group, is a proven method of decreasing stress, and increasing positivity. Nothing beats the sight, sounds, and smells of a stroll down a nature path or a jaunt in the woods.
Furthermore, walking in nature and spending time away from electronic devices improved the problem solving ability of the group (in the study linked to above) by a full 50%. This remarkable fact should not be that surprising, given what we already know of the amazing health benefits of walking.
“After a day’s walk everything has twice its usual value.” ~George Macauley Trevelyan
So often when inside staring a computer screen I start to feel my mind drifting away. Compared to the clarity and mindfulness that I feel when I am outdoors, it is a wonder why I ever choose to sit down in front of a screen!
There is even such a thing as walking meditation. Normally we think of meditation as sitting on the ground in a crossed legged position humming to ourselves. This does not always have to be the case, as meditation is more about mindfulness and being aware of what is going on around you.
If you try this one out for yourself, please comment with how it goes! I’d love to hear from you!
“Walking is my main method of relaxation. I don’t go over my lines or try to solve the world’s problems, I just enjoy the scenery and the wildlife.” -Kevin Whately
Walking is so Easy, Almost Anyone Can Do it
Walking is simple. All you need to do is strap on a pair of shoes and go outside. Children, teenagers, adults, and elderly people can all enjoy this modest form of exercise.
If you are limited in your ability to walk, then start slowly. Start by walking more around the house, or around the block. No matter where you start, it is important to START! Slowly keep upping your limits and making small changes, and soon you will be going much further than you may have ever thought possible!
“An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.” -Henry David Thoreau
One of the best parts about walking is that you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get into it! Chances are you probably already have a good pair of shoes, and that it pretty much IT as far as equipment.
Depending on where you live, you might need to invest in some Under Armour or a heavy rain jacket, but for the most part you probably already own some sort of cold weather gear.
All it truly takes to walk is the determination to do so, and the ability to set aside a little time to enjoy the outdoors.
“I dream of hiking into my old age. ~Marlyn Doan”
For the most part bad weather is no excuse for not being able to go for a walk. Unless you are elderly or handicapped, walking in bad weather can actually be quite fun!
One of the earliest memories my wife and I have together is going for a walk at night in the freezing rain. It was probably dangerous, and we probably could have gotten hurt, but nothing bad happened.
On the contrary, we had a an absolute BLAST sliding down the end of this wooden bridge that spans the creek at Messiah College. We talked about it constantly in the days following, and it comes up every once in awhile as a fond memory indeed for us.
The point is, walking in any weather can lead to great experiences which create great memories. If we had sat inside and watched a movie that night, I can guarantee you that we would not have remembered that night.
“But in every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.” ~John Muir, July 1877
Walking for Other Benefits
Walking is a Great Relationship Builder
Beyond making great memories with your spouse or significant other, walking is an excellent way to increase communication between couples and friends. When you are walking, you are relatively free of distractions, and your focus can be put on two things: putting one foot in front of their other, and talking with someone else.
Working out with someone else has the added benefit of giving you an Accountability Partner, as well as making it more fun! Not everyone enjoys walking alone, and bringing someone else along can make it more interesting, while ultimately serving to strengthen your legs, mind, heart, and your connectedness with whomever you choose to walk with.
“Me thinks that the moment my legs begin to move my thoughts begin to flow.” -Henry David Thoreau
I often spend a lot of my walking time thinking and praying. It is a chance for my mind to open up, and for my ultimate path to become more clear. I find that by the end of a walk my mind is clear of cobwebs, and that I am excited to continue working towards my goals.
Walking does indeed increase your ability to think deeply, and reason through things. The heart pumps faster, and the body starts to rev up. Brain synapses fire, and the mind becomes a powerful conduit for enriched thought.
Try it, and see what you think!
“All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” -Friedrich Nietzsche
My wife and I frequently walk 4-5 miles in one session, but this is through paved roads and concrete sidewalks. trekking through desert or wilderness for 20 miles in one day would be a mighty feat indeed!
The point is, it is important to remember where we came from and what we were designed to be able to do. I am all for technology so don’t get me wrong, but there is a reason why obesity is running rampant. This reason is that we live sedentary lifestyles and most of us choose not to fight back and make changes.
“I know the joy of fishes in the river through my own joy, as I go walking along the same river.” -Zhuangzi
Walking is a good way to start your path towards a better overall fitness level. Walking keeps you moving and it keeps your muscles loose, and it helps you to be able to do the things you want to keep doing.
As discussed above, Walking helps you to lose weight and stay healthy, which in turn leads to a greater level of fitness. The health benefits of walking are such that it is the perfect activity to help you reach your fitness goals. regardless of what your fitness goals might be.
You can walk to be able to play soccer with your kids, shoot hoops with your dad, or eventually run a marathon. Everyone has to start somewhere, just don’t become someone that keeps saying “someday” because we all know that someday never comes!
“People say that losing weight is no walk in the park. When I hear that I think, yeah, that’s the problem.” -Chris Adams
Final Thoughts On Walking
Walking is incredible for improvement of virtually any aspect of your life. Getting started is easy, and the health benefits of walking are immense. Practically speaking, making walking part of your daily routine might just be the best decision you ever make.
The question remains: what are you waiting for?
For a FREE WALKING PLAN all you need to do is sign up for the Fiber Guardian mailing list using the form below! You will then be able to receive updates on the sites and info on other free giveaways!
THANKS for reading, and have a wonderful day!