Cooler weather, like autumn and spring, provides a perfect opportunity to add more outdoor activities to your schedule. The easiest, most effective form of exercise is walking. Walking offers a variety of health and wellness benefits including:
- Improving cardiovascular health
Studies have shown that walking can help improve circulation and reduce the risk of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cardiac arrest – that’s a lot. Even small amounts of walking each week have shown to reduce these risks by 15 – 20%.
- Strengthening bones, muscles and joints
Walking is an exercise that provides a total body workout. This weight-bearing activity is great for bone density, helping to reduce the risk of osteoporosis and decrease the effects of the disease. Walking is also a great way to lubricate the joints, which require regular activity to stay functional.
- Improving sleep
Research indicates that going for a morning walk may help with increasing both the quality and quantity of sleep each night. Being physically active throughout the day allows the body to feel more tired and ready for rest by the evening.
- Boosting your mood
Going for a walk can be a great way to improve your mental health and well-being because endorphins are released from physical activity. Adding a walk to your routine has been shown to create a positive outlook and allow for a more optimistic attitude throughout the day.
- Improving your immune system
Walking is can give your immune system a boost. Research indicates that those who walk regularly get sick less frequently and for shorter periods of time than those who do not exercise.
- Slowing cognitive decline and dementia
Walking can improve attention, memory, processing speed and cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain and providing it with essential nutrients.
The next time you’re asking yourself, “should I get some exercise and go for a walk,” answer yourself with “there’s six reasons I should.” After all, our community has a beautiful walking trail for you to take in the sights and sounds of nature, a walking group where you can walk with friends or meet new friends and quite neighborhoods that provide scenic views and opportunities to say “hi” to a neighbor.
About the Author
Sherry Stick is the fitness and aquatics coordinator at Carroll Lutheran Village and has been working for CLV for nearly 20 years.