Health Benefits from Walking
Weight loss is not the only benefit from walking. Of course, it in itself offers benefits, both physical and mental. Besides helping maintain a healthy weight, walking helps:
• Improve your mood, thus lowering your risk of depression and anxiety
• Prevents the onset of dementia by improving cognitive function
• Decreases stress – a known factor leading to weight gain over time
• Strengthens bones and muscles especially in the lower body and consequently can diminish joint pain
• Improves balance and coordination – something that older adults especially can use as falls is the number one reason of injury in older adults
• Prevents, or at least lowers the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes, to name a few.
• Boosts immune function meaning you will get sick less often.
• Improves lung capacity by working the lungs harder.
• Helps build social support if you choose to walk with a like-minded friend or group.
To improve the bones and muscle in the upper extremities, be sure to swing your arms when walking. Some people favor wearing wrist weights or carrying a small dumbbell in each hand while walking and work their arms that way. Then besides swinging their arms, they can raise their arms up and down or out to their side and back down while walking. Not only does this increase the calorie burn, but also improves the muscle structure of the upper body muscles used.
Wow, who knew besides weight loss that all these health benefits and more could be derived just from the simple act of strapping on a set of shoes and walking on a consistent basis.