There are plenty of health crazes out there — cutting out gluten, going paleo, juicing, and more. However, one of the most underrated ways to stay healthy is also one of the simplest: walking. Walking has plenty of benefits, from keeping your physical health in check to making you feel better mentally. If you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle or just want to get outside more, walking is a great first step to take. If that’s not enough, here are some concrete, science-backed reasons why you should walk more.
The only thing you have to spend when walking is a little bit of your time. No monthly fees, no special equipment. Just your legs and time.
Help keep weight in check
While walking won’t cause any dramatic weight loss, it can help get you in a healthier state. A 2008 study showed that women who walked more had lower body weight and less body fat.
In addition to helping control your weight, people who significantly walked every day were shown to have better balance than those who didn’t. This was especially noticeable in older demographics.
Increase heart health
Any form of activity is good for your heart, and walking is no different. Even spending 15 minutes a day walking can help keep you heart healthy.
Chances are there is something in your life that causes you stress. Going for walks provides a therapeutic outlet for you to collect your thoughts when life’s pressures get to be too much for you.
Going for walks has many benefits outside of physical health. If you’re feeling like you’ve hit a wall at work or can’t think of anything original, going for a walk can help stir the creativity you’re lacking in your life.
Keep your brain active
But walking does more than help your creativity — walking can help improve your attention span and wake up your brain.
Lower blood pressure
If you’re looking for a simple way to lower your blood pressure, walking is the way to go.
Excessive sitting will do little good for your muscles. They need active movement so they don’t lose their tone or even atrophy. While you won’t get killer glutes by walking, you’ll be able to keep them in shape.
Control blood sugar levels
Dozens of studies have shown that going for a 15-minute walk after a meal can help keep your blood-sugar down. It will also help aid your digestion.
Get vitamin D
You could take vitamin supplements to get your daily Vitamin D requirement, or you could take a walk. Even 10 minutes of walking in the sun can provide you with the Vitamin D you need — just make sure you use sunblock before going outside.
It’s in your DNA
Long before there were cars and planes, walking was predominant form of transportation. Just because technology has improved doesn’t mean you can’t do what your forefathers did.
Gives you a chance to “escape”
With tons of events going on in your life — work, relationships, bills — it’s good to have a place where you can forget about those things for a bit. Going for a walk can get you outside and help you take joy in the bigger picture, rather than stressing about the minor details.