The benefits of walking for 30 minutes a day go way beyond just improving fitness.
It’s a fact known and accepted by most that fresh air and exercise is good for us. Apart from the physical aspect, being outside also provides benefits for our mental health. For a start, the Vitamin D that we absorb from the sun’s ultraviolet rays helps to ward off depression and keep us feeling happy.
Undertaking regular exercise such as walking is a great way to curb stress, too. It releases chemicals into our brains which are important for maintaining good mental health.
In fact, walking has been proven to have a positive effect on the nervous system, reducing negative feelings of anger and hostility.
Walking gives us to time think and clear our minds. Moreover, it aids concentration and stimulates creativity.
The mental health benefits of walking are just as substantial as the physical benefits of walking. And they can be experienced by walking for half an hour a day or less! So there’s no reason not to make a conscious effort to go outside and get those legs moving!
NB When using sunscreen your body can’t absorb vitamin D. However, frequent, prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun will put you at risk of developing skin cancer. For this reason, it’s wise to limit the time you spend in direct sunlight to between 10 and 15 minutes, two to three times a week. If you spend more time than this outdoors, be sure to apply a good sunscreen.
Overview of the Benefits of Walking for 30 Minutes a Day
Walking is easy to incorporate into daily life. It doesn’t require any specific equipment apart from a comfortable pair of shoes, and you can do it just about anywhere.
Most of us are busy, and many of us work outside the home. Using these as excuses for being inactive really doesn’t cut it. If you live reasonably close to your place of employment, try walking to or from work once a day. This will enable you to reap the benefits, and you will save on transportation costs. If you work further afield, pack your sneakers and go for a walk during your lunch break.
If you struggle to stay motivated, take your dog along when you walk. Your pup’s enthusiasm will be contagious, and you will quickly find yourself looking forward to your walks as much as your furry friend does. If you don’t have a dog, offer to walk a neighbors pooch.
More Health Benefits of Walking for 30 Minutes a Day
Exercise boosts our energy levels and improves our mood. It helps us to remain more alert and energetic throughout the day and avoid that mid-afternoon slump.
One of the significant benefits of walking for 30 minutes a day is that it dramatically reduces the risk of chronic disease. The gentle action of walking can reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease by as much as 30%.
Additionally, walking improves blood circulation which is crucial for maintaining overall health. Walking for half an hour a day can reduce your bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase your good cholesterol (HDL).
A half-hour daily walk can also lower the likelihood of developing diseases such as diabetes, asthma, and even some forms of cancer, including those of the breast, uterus, and colon.
A daily walk stimulates bone formation and strengthens bones. This is of particular benefit to seniors, especially women for whom osteoporosis can be a problem later in life. Regular walks also have a protective effect against arthritis.
Research has shown that 1 in 14 people over the age of 65, and 1 in 6 older than 80, have dementia. A brisk 30-minute daily walk can avert brain tissue loss, help to preserve memory, and reduce your risk of dementia by around 40%.
More Fitness Benefits of Walking for 30 Minutes a Day
Another of the benefits of walking for half an hour a day is that it can help you to lose weight or maintain your current weight. An easy way to burn calories, walking requires less effort, and you will sweat less than when doing more intense forms of exercise.
Promoting a healthy heart through walking boosts the metabolism, enabling you to burn more calories and lose weight more easily. You won’t have to power walk or walk up steep hills to lose weight, either!
Walk to the supermarket or a friends house rather than drive, and you will burn calories. Naturally, the faster and further you walk and the more varied terrain on your route, the more muscles you will work and the greater number of calories you will burn.
Walking is a great way to tone your leg and buttocks muscles and achieve a leaner, tighter looking figure. It also tones the abdominal muscles. And if you swing your arms, they will also get a workout.
If you lead a sedentary lifestyle, walking will enable you to ease into a routine and become healthier all around.
If you are very out of shape, it may take you several weeks or even longer to be able to walk for a half an hour without stopping. Start at a slow but steady pace for 10 or 15 minutes if that’s all you can manage. Increase your speed and the time you spend walking as your fitness improves.
You don’t have to stop at 30 minutes if you don’t want to. For even greater benefit, including faster weight loss, extend the time you spend walking to 45 minutes or an hour. Alternatively, do two 30-minute sessions a day.
Final Thoughts on the Health Benefits of Walking for 30 Minutes a Day
Fewer people are choosing to walk outside these days. Most of us prefer to drive or use public transport to save time and arrive at our destination faster. This reflects the world we live in, which is fast paced and becoming more and more focused on technology and the digital world rather than the outside, physical one.
More and more jobs require us to sit inside on computers all day tapping away and staring at a screen. It’s no wonder that mental illness has skyrocketed, affecting people from all walks of life more so than it ever has before.
Obesity rates are higher than ever, and despite major advances in medicine, cardiovascular risks are still very high. The benefits of walking for 30 minutes a day are huge, and incorporating this into your daily life will greatly improve your mental and physical health.
Prefer to exercise indoors? If so, be sure to read this article on the benefits of treadmill exercise Vs walking, jogging, & running outdoors.