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Benefits of Walking

If it has been awhile since you actively exercised and you want to get back in the swing of things, then walking is one thing you can start doing today. It doesn’t require training, a financial investment, or special equipment, other than a decent pair of shoes. You can spend as much time or as little time doing it as you wish. Getting up and walking for ten minutes after an hour of sitting has a positive effect. And with an investment of only 30 minutes every day, walking has been shown to have many health benefits.

Walking releases endorphins into the body. These are the body’s natural mood elevators and painkillers. A Cal State Long Beach study confirms that walking improves your mood. A more in depth Portuguese study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research specifically determined that depressed subjects who walked 30 to 45 minutes 5 days per week for 12 weeks demonstrated improvements in mood and other symptoms that medication alone could not achieve.

Even if you are walking primarily for the physical benefits, when you walk around in your neighborhood you may find your mood lifts simply because you are interacting socially with your neighbors more. People tend to relax and be friendlier when they are out walking for pleasure. 

Walking improves circulation, which is beneficial for your heart. Regular walks have been shown to reduce blood pressure and the risk of stroke. Walking also increases body strength. It builds muscles while improving circulation around the joints. And a study conducted by the Brigham and Woman’s Hospital in Boston demonstrated that walking was beneficial for bone mass.

In the spring of 2016 a video was circulating on Facebook about a man who was told to adopt a dog and start walking. He was in terrible health and felt like he had nothing to lose, so he went to the rescue facility and asked to be paired with an overweight middle-aged dog, a dog who was like him. And he began walking. Then he started running. And he lost weight. And his health improved. The dog lost weight. They kept each other company and became inseparable. At the end of the video the man said that his dog saved his life.

Now, I realize that Facebook content should probably be approached with a certain amount of skepticism. But I think the real truth in this video is that committing yourself fully to a healthful activity, even something as simple and easy to do as walking 30 minutes every day, can have a very positive impact on your life.