When you think of your daily workout, no doubt you picture a hardcore gym session, a spinning class, a 3-mile run, or a Hot Yoga class. The idea of doing something as simple as just walking every day may never cross your mind. After all, walking is such a low-impact, low-intensity workout, so how can it possibly be good for you? Well, don’t discard walking just because it’s not as intense as other workouts. There are many reasons you should walk 30 minutes a day:
With just 30 minutes of walking, you can burn an easy 150 to 200 calories. Pick up the pace, and you can make that closer to 300 calories. Speed walking is excellent exercise, and even just regular pace walking will help you to burn calories. The fact that you are engaged in low-intensity exercise means you will activate oxygen and fatty acids rather than glucose. Walking is a fat-burning workout!
Walking won’t build huge muscle in the same way weightlifting does, but it will certainly help to tone your leg muscles. Walking tones your calf muscles and thighs, and climbing (stairs or mountains) will help to target your glutes and hamstrings. For sleeker, stronger legs, add a bit more walking into your weekly routine.
Walking has been scientifically proven to relax your mind and wipe away anxiety. It doesn’t matter whether you walk down a busy street, through a forest, or around a park—just the act of putting one foot in front of the other is enough to calm your racing thoughts. If you’re dealing with a lot of stress at work and home, spend more time walking every day.
Do More Workout
When you push yourself to the limits of your strength and endurance at the gym, there’s no way you can fit in another high-intensity workout afterward. You can, however, mix in a short walk or even a hike. Walking is so low-intensity that it requires a lot less energy than a run or jog. Once you’ve given your body a few hours to recover from your workout, you can go on a 30 to 60 minute walk to amp up the calorie burning again.
One of the main reasons you should walk 30 minutes a day is to improve circulation. People who spend most of their day sitting down will often suffer circulation problems in their legs, which could lead to varicose veins, spider veins, and even cold feet. However, walking sends blood rushing toward your legs, which leads to better circulation overall. You’ll find that the low-intensity cardiovascular exercise is amazing for improving your fitness in general.
Spark Your Creativity
If you’re having a hard time getting into a creative frame of mind, take a walk. Your mind will run through the problem while you’re walking, and the fact that your body is occupied will free up your brain to focus on the creative problem. You’ll be amazed at how easily you find inspiration and new ideas just by taking a short walk.
Taking a walk after a meal is one of the best ways to speed up digestion. Even just 15 to 20 minutes (a few blocks) of walking can help to get your digestive juices flowing—literally. You’ll aid your stomach and intestines in breaking down and absorbing food, and help your intestinal muscles push waste toward the disposal exit. Walking is AMAZING for your digestive tract, and can help to stop you from feeling over-full after a heavy meal.