10 reasons to love going for a walk this fall
Everything here revolves around walking. It's time to lace your runners and join the hundreds and thousands of other people on our trails, parks, and sidewalks across the country. Here are our top 10 reasons why you love going for a walk.
1. You don't have to be an expert: Unlike other sports, walking appeals to people of all ages and walks of life and you don't have to spend a fortune on expensive equipment – a good pair of shoes and off you go!
2. You are less likely to get injured while walking: It is a completely natural physical activity – our bodies are designed for it. In fact, walking strengthens the ligaments and muscles that hold the joints in place. The more you build these up, the better the chances of getting rid of joint pain.
3. You can be sociable while walking: Unlike many other activities, walking gives you enough breath to entertain yourself on the go. In fact, we know that when walking with another person, we tend to move our bodies in a similar way – this is known as "synchronous movement." Subconsciously, this type of movement can improve relationships and strengthen relationships. According to a recent article by the American psychologist, it can even help dispel conflict.
4. You get more mood benefits: A study recently published in the Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology confirmed that exercising outdoors is more comfortable than whipping on a treadmill, which improves mood more. Also, participants who went outside were more likely to stick to the exercise in the future because it felt more like an advantage than hard work.
5. It helps you lose weight: Recent research in the American Journal of Health Promotion found that women who increased their daily step count by 1,000 steps lost an average of 2.1 pounds or 1 kilo in 9 months without changing their diet or lifestyle. The average person can get this quota in just half a mile.
6. It strengthens your bones: High-performance sports, even jogging, will put a lot of stress and strain on your bones. Walking is much more bone-friendly because the effects are minor, but it is enough to qualify as a stressful exercise that helps actually tone the bones.
7. It strengthens your immune system: According to a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, people who walk briskly for 20 minutes a day 5 days a week have 43 percent fewer sick days than people who exercise only once a week or less! This amount of exercise is doable for most of us, even if we incorporate it into our daily commute. Read the informative report (and mention of the study) here.
8. It strengthens heart health: Walking 3 miles an hour (or faster) regularly can cut your risk of heart disease in half, compared to walking just 2 miles an hour (or slower), according to a study in Circulation.
Take-away message: Accelerate because your heart will thank you.
9. It gives you a better energy boost than caffeine: If you need to get past the afternoon slump or focus your concentration on an important presentation (or just to do all of the after-school activities!) Then consider a brisk walk – even for just 10 minutes. According to a recent study in Physiology & Behavior, just 10 minutes' walk or a few steps is more energetic than consuming 50 mg of caffeine.
10. It Might Help Reduce Cravings: Research in PLOS One has shown that a 15-minute walk can reduce the urge to reach for a sugary snack. How? Because moving can mitigate emotional triggers that seem to lead to pointless snacking. So after your walk you can no longer long for it. Walking has also been shown to strengthen the prefrontal cortex in the brain, which means it can help you stick to your healthy eating plan since our willpower is stronger when this part of the brain is thicker.
Why not set a running goal? Start with small walks and aim for a Saturday hike along one of the many greenways or other sidewalks. There is now a wide choice when it comes to hiking routes and their development has certainly been one of the great success stories of the past 10 years. Read our article on hiking here.
So what are you waiting for? Lace up these runners. Let us go for a walk.