Walking: Cheap, Easy, And Amazingly Good For You!

We’re enjoying some beautiful weather lately, and now the perfect time to go outside and enjoy a walk! Walking has some amazing benefits and it’s one of the easiest forms of exercise.

Walking is easy to do

Just getting up and walking for 30 minutes a day has tremendous health benefits. Sure, you have to get yourself moving, but it’s really not hard once you get going. You can go at your own pace.

It can be fun to have a change of scenery, breathe in some fresh air—even go with a walking buddy if you feel like it.

Walking is inexpensive

No special equipment is necessary. Really, all you need is a good pair of walking shoes and some comfortable clothing. It doesn’t get much easier than that! If the weather’s bad or you feel like staying indoors, you’ll need an indoor walking path or a treadmill, but Tapestry has you covered there!

You can use the Tapestry corridors for walking or, if you prefer, head to the fitness center and get your walking in on one of the treadmills. When the weather is nice, you can enjoy walking around the paved areas and sidewalks of Tapestry. The choice is yours!

Here are eight important benefits of simply walking:

1)    Walking stops the loss of bone mass

Losing bone mass puts you at risk of breaking bones more easily. Older people at risk for osteoporosis can limit this risk by walking to maintain their bone mass. A recent study showed that hip fractures were reduced by 40% for participants who walked just 30 minutes a day!

2)    Walking strengthens your muscles 

One of the problems with getting older is that people begin to lose muscle mass in their bodies starting as early as their 30’s and 40’s. But exercise, including walking, can slow down or even stop the loss of muscle mass. Walking strengthens your leg and abdominal muscles.

3)    Walking increases your circulation

If people don’t stay active as they age, they begin to suffer from circulation problems. Guess what helps circulation? You got it—walking!

A study at the University of Tennessee showed that walking improves circulation. This is important because good circulation lowers blood pressure and puts you at less risk of heart disease. The researchers found that walking just 30 minutes a day reduced blood pressure by an average of 11 points.

4)    Walking improves joint support

Cartilage in your body, or in your joints, doesn’t receive a direct line of blood flow, and blood is vital to the transport of nutrients. Instead, nutrition is only supplied to your joints through fluid that is circulated as you move around. Oxygen and nutrients are delivered to your cartilage as you walk, increasing necessary fluid to your joints. If you don’t move around, you won’t get enough fluid in your cartilage which increases the speed of cartilage deterioration in your body.

5)    Walking increases your balance and stability

Slips and falls are a common problem as people get older. Many falls are caused by a lack of hip strength and a loss in overall balance, and walking helps in both of these areas. Walking engages your hips, abdominal muscles, and other muscles that work together to help you stay balanced.

6)    Walking improves your sleep

Several studies have found that people who took one-hour walks each day reported getting much better sleep at night. And as we talked about in a recent blog post, sleep is another important factor for good health!

7)    Walking promotes weight loss

Walking keeps your metabolism humming along and helps you burn excess calories. Just 30 minutes a day of walking burns around 200 calories. That’s way more fun than skipping dessert!

8)    Walking helps your brain stay sharp

Two recent studies have shown this important correlation.

The first study took place at the University of California and included 6000 women who were ages 65 and up. The women who walked an average of 2.5 miles per day had significantly less mental decline over the period of the study than the women who walked less than half a mile per week.

The next one studied men between the ages of 71 and 93. The men who walked just a quarter of a mile per day showed 50% less risk of getting Alzheimer’s or dementia than the men who didn’t walk for exercise.

Take a walk!

There’s no dispute that it’s important to stay active as you get older. And there aren’t many activities that give you as many benefits as walking does in such an easy way.

Did you notice that a lot of the benefits discussed above happen with just 30 minutes of walking? Of course, if you walk longer than that, the benefits will be even greater. But studies show that most of the benefits of walking can be gained in only 30 minutes a day.

That’s pretty awesome. Just 30 minutes a day puts you on the path to maintaining—or improving—your health. What’s not to love about that? So lace up those sneakers and walk!