Everybody wants to be in shape, to feel like they can use their body freely; this doesn’t mean, however, that everybody can dive right into heavy exercise.
Some folks have limited mobility or a heart condition that doesn’t allow them to exercise intensely; some folks don’t have the time to dedicate multiple hours per week to strenuous workouts.
No matter why you have chosen to start exercising, it’s worth it; even light movement a few times a week is infinitely better than living too sedentary a lifestyle.
And there’s no better light movement for this than a good walk.
Walking is an underappreciated exercise; you’re not going to get ripped just from walking, but you’ll feel better than you did when you weren’t moving at all!
And if feeling better alone isn’t enough of a reason to lace up those shoes, here are 5 reasons why walking is the way to go:
It’s Low Impact
For many people, challenging exercise routines aren’t an option because they put too much strain on certain parts of the body.
Often this regards the joints, specifically the knees, which tend to get a lot of stress from popular forms of exercise like jogging.
No amount of braces, tapes, and insoles can prevent a bad knee from getting worse if you put stress on it, and no one wants to wind up needing a knee replacement.
If you have knee or joint issues but still want to stay fit, then a low-impact exercise like walking is perfect.
Like all the best low-impact exercises, walking keeps one of your feet on the ground at all times, greatly reducing the strain on your knees while you do it.
Many people sustain injuries during strenuous exercises, but rarely do you hear about people getting injured while walking.
It’s Easily Incorporated Into Your Routine
Walking can become a part of anyone’s daily routine instantly.
If you live in a city environment, this is pretty obvious: you live close to all of the stores you like and places you like to go, so why not just walk there instead of driving and struggling to find parking?
Walking is easy to incorporate into suburban or rural living as well, though.
Even if you have to drive a decent distance to get to a shopping center, for example, if you park a little farther away you can get a little walk in while still having time to take care of what you need to.
It Doesn’t Take Too Long
Even a small trip around the block has huge benefits, and very few people are so busy that even that isn’t feasible.
Think about all of the super hard workers in your life who have a dog, or who get their exercise in even the busiest of us can fit in a 10-minute walk once a day, which provides huge health benefits.
Walks can even be just a break from working! No matter how short the walk is, its benefits will be noticeable to you.
It’s Great for the Brain
Walking is of course good for your body, as any movement is, but it also has documented benefits for the brain!
It increases happy chemicals in your brain, boosts your creativity, and can even help you sleep better.
Think of all that time spent in front of a screen, straining your eyes and wearing your brain out; isn’t that exactly what walking counteracts?
You can think of it as a flush of sorts, washing away the trials and tribulations of the day with even a quick trip down to a convenience store.
Walking helps every part of you, from your legs at the bottom all the way up to your brain.
It Cuts Back on Your Time in the Car
Driving, though a huge part of modern life, is something that almost everyone wants to cut back on.
Commutes to and from work are unavoidable, but beyond that, do we need to drive as much as we do?
For many people, essentials such as groceries are within walking distance, but we convince ourselves that we don’t have time for it, or it’s just easier to drive.
And so we spend more time in the car, racking up miles on the odometer and not the pedometer.
Walking instead not only provides its usual benefits, but it prevents you from incurring the cost of driving more.
For one, you’ll save a bunch of money on gas, which is incredibly expensive right now. For another, you’ll be safer: walking helps reduce the possibility of being in an accident.
In Los Angeles alone, “police record about 20,000 hit and run accidents every year,” according to a Los Angeles car accident lawyer from the Barnes Firm; if you had an easy way to reduce this chance while benefiting your brain and your body, wouldn’t you do it?
Walking is an easy and free way to get a little bit of exercise and improve your health and mood.
Though it may be too little for some who are used to more exercise (in which case you can add an incline or try cycling out), for those of us who aren’t used to working out hard but want to get moving, walking even just a little bit every day is a great way to do it.
Sandra is a health blogger based in San Diego, California. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle. She loves being outdoors and exploring new places with her husband. She is a mom of two awesome kids and a dog named Luna!