Walking is a great low-impact aerobic exercise. When combined with a healthy diet and enough rest, it can really improve both your body and your mind and make you healthier than you already are.
Here’s what happens to your body when you start taking the longer route on foot (and why you should start doing it more often):
- Five minutes – Your heart rate starts to increase. You start to feel less tense since your joints release their own lubricant to help you move more easily.
- Ten minutes – Your heart rate continues to increase as you burn up to six calories a minute. Your body starts to burn stored carbohydrates and fat for energy.
- Twenty minutes – Your blood vessels near the skin expand to release heat, and you burn up to seven calories a minute and breathe harder.
- Forty-five minutes – You start feeling less tired thanks to your brain releasing endorphins. Your insulin level drops as more fat is burned, which is great news in getting rid of excess weight or beating diabetes
- One hour – Your body starts to adjust to burn fewer calories and your heart rate decreases when you slow down.
While these effects won’t always be obvious at first, you will start to notice the following once you make it a habit to walk regularly, or even ten thousand steps a day:
- Positive brain changes – Low-impact aerobic exercises prevent early dementia and greatly decrease your risk of Alzheimer’s disease, and reduces a lot of mental stress.
- Prevents heart disease – Exercise burns fat, and walking is just as effective as running when it comes to minimizing the risk of cardiovascular disease later on in life
- Increased lung volume – Walking as an exercises increases the flow of oxygen and helps get rid of toxins and waste in your body, and some symptoms linked to lung disease also improve.
- Better digestion – Even something as simple as thirty minutes of walking every day not only lowers the risk of colon cancer, but also helps to regulate bowel movements.
- Tones muscles – Walking ten thousand steps a day counts as an actual workout, and because there’s no recovery time needed, it also means you don’t feel sore afterwards
- Back pain relief – Whether you sit in an office desk for several hours a day or do high-impact exercises, walking helps to stretch out those muscles and joints.
But most importantly, walking helps you calm your mind. Since this activity prompts the brain to release endorphins, one way to lift your mood when you’re feeling down or feeling sleepy is to go on a walk.