Walking has a stellar reputation for being one of the best beginner-friendly ways to burn calories, shape up your legs, and strengthen your heart. We know. You get it. But with each step, walking is discretely improving other not-so-noticeable parts of you too. And this is why walking makes the cut as our total-body workout of choice. Check out the awesome ways hoofing it has a powerful effect on your overall health.
It boosts your brainpower.
Walking briskly on a regular basis improves your concentration and slows down the shrinkage of the brain that comes naturally with age. In fact, frequent strolls have recently been found to help the part of the brain responsible for long-term memory growth. Emerging evidence has also shown promise that a consistent walking routine may slash the risk of Alzheimer’s by almost half.
It protects your peepers.
Walking may reduce pressure within your eyes and can lower risk factors for developing glaucoma like diabetes and high blood pressure. Walking may even help treat the condition if you already have it.
It opens your airways.
Raising your heart rate with a good brisk walk builds your lung power. The stronger the lungs are, the easier it is for them to do their job of delivering oxygen to the rest of your muscles—an improvement that you’ll notice on future walks when you’re able to stroll farther without feeling worn out.
It manages your middle.
If you walk with good posture (shoulders square, chest up, eyes forward), your core is getting an amazing workout. That’s because to hold that form you have to engage your core muscles, particularly your lower back and abdominal muscles. All that effort is building strength (bonus: no crunches required). Oh, and did we mention this hidden core workout also goes a long way toward relieving and reducing back pain? Like we said earlier, awesome.
It improves your balance.
Walking lets you work out on all kinds of unstable terrain like soft sand, loose rocks, and trails. Every shaky step activates other muscles throughout your entire body just so you can stabilize yourself, giving you better overall balance that you’ll be grateful for in years to come.
It builds your bones.
Because walking is a weight-bearing exercise (that weight being you), it helps build bone mass, which can reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis.
It unclogs your veins.
Walking contracts your leg muscles, which in turn lowers your risk of developing deep-vein thrombosis (a type of blood clot in the legs) by pumping blood back toward your heart.