There is a reason why humans are one of the rare animals who walk on two feet – it has helped our ancestors walk long distance from the heart of Africa to all over the world.
In the current age, most of us walk very little or probably not at all. And the lack of activity harms our physical and mental health, since our bodies evolved to walk and do physical activities.
It has been now established as a fact that walking is one of the best things you could do for your health – it helps with stress, anxiety, depression, blood pressure, insomnia and so many other problems that we deal with on a daily basis. Best thing about walking? It costs nothing, it requires no tools and accessories, and you can do it while listening to songs or talking to someone.
Check out the list of all the benefits you get out of 15-minute walks per day, and how it helps you:
#1. Happiness, better mood, less mood swings
Walking for about 12 to 15 minutes a day can reduce your stress levels significantly, and make you happier and more positive person – according to a study by American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
It’s not just about stepping outside and breathing in some fresh air, but the act of walking stimulates the blood flow and releases endorphins in your body. It improves your emotional health, energy levels and immunity.
#2. Boosts creativity and productivity by 60%
Most of us often hit a creative and productive roadblock while working or studying or trying to do something else. Stanford University and American Psychological Association conducted a study in which they found that walking can improve your creativity by as much as 60 percent!
It helps by refocusing your mind, and the release of endorphins along with enhanced blood flow can launch you past the roadblock in your creativity and productivity.
#3. Tackles the Metabolic syndrome
Majority of population all over the world suffers from high blood pressure, high cholesterol and increased levels of blood sugar. When you have all three symptoms at the same time, it is called the Metabolic syndrome.
Risk of Metabolic syndrome decreases by 29% if you just take a small, brisk walk everyday – according to a research by Nigerian Medical Journal.
#4. Cuts down your healthcare and gym expenses
Let’s be honest, the idea that you need to go to gym if you want to be fit – is a false idea and it only tries to sell you something. Getting a gym membership, workout clothes and shoes, supplements, home exercise equipment – all of this can be heavy on your pocket. Going to gym is needed only when you are looking to build muscles or reduce weight really fast.
Walking and a few other aerobic exercises will save you the need to go to gym, and they will keep most health problems at bay – so that you can save on the hospital bills as well. Not that there should be a bill for hospitals, because most countries now have universal healthcare that takes care of all citizens.
#5. Helps you sleep better
According to the Sleep Foundation, people who took brisk walks everyday and did some mild exercise fall asleep quickly, get deeper sleep for a longer period of time.
In comparison, people who did no physical activity and people who did heavy exercises – both types of people had trouble with a good night’s sleep.
#6. It helps you fights depression, anxiety and panic attacks
Anxiety and Depression Association of America says that a simple 10-minute walk is powerful enough to remove cortisol, the stress hormone, out of your body and releases endorphins which make you feel better. Walking is described as one of the fastest and most effective way to improve your mood and reduce your anxiety.
Walking is almost 300% more effective than working out and exercise, when it comes to improving your mental health, according to psychologists.
#7. Reduces the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
Walking also improves your blood flow to the brain, that reduces the risk of nerves getting atrophied since they get regular oxygen – this protects you from illnesses like Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia. All these findings were discovered by the researchers at New Mexico Highlands University.
#8. Helps you deal with chronic pain
30% of the American population is dealing with some or other forms of chronic pain in the joints, nerves, or muscles. Studies have shown that if you walk regularly then it helps reduce the chronic pain in your body by releasing endorphins -which help the brain and nervous system in dealing with the pain.
#9. Improves your bone density
Lower bone density can cause osteoporosis and increase the risk of fractures and spine shrinkage. One of the best ways to increase your bone density and make them stronger is to do lifting exercises, running, and walking. American Bone Health Association says that if you walk everyday for six months, then it will significantly improve the strength of your bones, especially the hip bones.
Featured Image Courtesy: Livemint