Many health professionals recommend taking 10,000 steps per day. Those who have done this consistently can definitely feel the health benefits of walking, whether it’s getting from point A to point B more quickly without being out of breath, or seeing the increased muscle definition in your legs.
This article is to encourage you to set your own daily walking goal. If you are not active at all right now, then maybe just start with a goal of 5,000 steps per day. It doesn’t matter the state of fitness where you start as long as you’re consistent in moving forward.
Without further ado, here are the top 10 health benefits of walking.
#1 Clarity in Thoughts (Mental Benefit)
This first benefit is really interesting. I found there are three stages to this clarity.
Initially, you may be caught up in the thoughts surrounding your life, your circumstances, your situation, almost like a cloud of thoughts that you’re carrying around.
In stage two your thoughts will become a little bit more distant and farther away and you’ll be able to think more clearly. It’s almost like the clouds will be lifting, and your emotions will get lighter. Why? Thoughts and emotions are related. Because you’re thinking more clearly you start to feel a little bit lighter as well.
But if you keep walking this is when stage three starts and what happens then is really interesting. The clouds are gone. They’re gone or they’re very far in the distance.
Look, the clouds represent your thoughts, so when they’re so far in the distance, you can actually be present in the moment. This is super powerful. This is where ideas will come to you. This is where solutions will come to you.
It’s awesome when you actually walk 10,000 steps and when you get to this stage three because the walking turns into meditation.
#2 Connection with Body
The second benefit is that you begin to have a connection with your body because you become more present. You actually start to feel that your mind and body are connected, rather than them running on autopilot.
There are so many people that are going through life disconnected, preoccupied with problems in their mind rather than actually living.
We’ve all had the experience where we’ve eaten something, and before we realize it, it’s gone. We finished the food, but we didn’t even taste it, because our mind was not in the present moment; it was somewhere else.
Being present in simple experiences like these can bring a whole lot more joy in your life.
#3 Your Brain Releases Feel-Good Endorphins
The third benefit is that walking releases feel-good endorphins in your brain. This is huge because these endorphins make you feel really good.
Dopamine is one of the major contributors to perceiving pleasure in the brain. This is the hormone released when we finally accomplish something difficult or when we have a good laugh.
It’s also a hormone also linked to addiction (i.e. the brain releases it when a person takes drugs, etc). Wouldn’t you rather get a natural high from walking instead of by taking illegal substances?
#4 Improves Eye Health
Loads of studies show that walking actually improves your eyesight and helps to relieve pressure around the eyes.
This can help you to see and process your environment more clearly- all by simply walking.
#5 Helps Diabetes and Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Physical fitness is one of the best ways to reduce the risk of and manage diabetes/increased blood sugar.
Many people have shared from experience that walking has helped them manage their blood sugar, and there are also loads of studies that back up their claims.
#6 Lowers Blood Pressure
Walking helps with people that have high blood pressure. This is really good news because it’s such a simple activity to do.
Rather than being totally dependent on prescription medication, taking those 10,000 steps per day can help you out a lot.
#7 Improves Heart Health & Circulation
Walking helps to strengthen your heart. Why? Because when you’re walking, you’re using muscles that aren’t active while sitting or laying on the couch.
Your heart needs to pump harder and faster to keep all of these new muscles oxygenated–hence improved circulation.
Improved circulation reduces fluid retention, and the risk of dangerous blood clots forming in your legs.
#8 Alleviates Some Back Pain
If you suffer from back pain, walking can help.
Many of us spend a lot of time sitting at a desk, computer, or TV, often not with the best posture or breaks.
We may be tempted to reach for painkillers, but these pills just mask the symptom, rather than addressing the source of the pain. Walking actually helps to alleviate back pain from the actual cause of the problem–inactivity.
#9 Strengthens Bones & Prevents Arthritis
One of the benefits of walking is that it can help to actually prevent arthritis because it helps to lubricate the joints, and it helps to strengthen the muscles around those joints.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints–commonly found in knees or hips. When the muscles around these sensitive areas are strengthened, inflammation and pain decrease.
People who have preexisting conditions benefit from the low impact that walking has on joints, bones, and related cartilage.
#10 Boosts Immune System
Aerobic exercise (walking) boosts your immune system because if your heart is healthy, your body is better able to pump blood to areas that may be ill or damaged.
We hope this article has helped you become more aware of the many unexpected benefits that simply walking 10,000 steps per day can have on your life. If you’d like to increase your aerobic activity even more, check out our articles on our favorite treadmills and exercise bikes.
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To your success,