The Top 5 Benefits of Walking as Exercise
By Mara Towne, PT, DPT
It’s Springtime! The days are getting longer, the weather is getting warmer and the birds are singing! It’s a great time to move our bodies and walking is an ideal way to do this!
There are numerous benefits to walking as an exercise:
1. Walking improves circulation and helps protect our heart
2. Walking in nature decreases rumination, which are negative thought patterns that play in our heads like a broken record
3. Walking improves your immune function
4. Walking can help lower blood sugar/ help weight loss
5. Walking improves sleep
Additionally, if you have been in physical therapy, chances are we have discussed the importance of posture. Walking is a great time to practice your posture! Think about bringing your shoulders down and back, slight chin tuck and slight tension in your abdomen to activate your deep abdominal musculature.
Walking can also be a time when you focus on your diaphragmatic breathing and/or meditation. By doing this you can combine two exercises into one to get more from your time investment!
How do we add walking into our busy lives?
Most guidelines recommend 30 minutes of walking a day. However, research has shown that this can be broken up into 10- or 15-minute increments. Do you have 10 or 15 minutes during your lunch break? Maybe a co-worker would be interested in going on a walk with you as well? What about after dinner, especially as the days get longer? Perhaps you can start with walking on the weekends if the weekdays are too hectic. It’s important to make our goals realistic in order to feel a sense of accomplishment when we complete them. The most important thing is to take that first step. Your physical therapist can help you to determine realistic goals for you as an individual. We are here to help!
I encourage you to find a way to take a walk this week. It might be 10 minutes, but I guarantee you will notice a positive difference!
Thoughts or ideas? Feel free to email me: email@example.com