Walking calmly has many psychological and physical benefits. Do you know them?
Walking or walking is one of the exercises that, in addition to being pleasant, can make you feel better. Many think that if exercise is not high intensity it is not possible to benefit from physical activity. But walking or walking is free, easy, and safe from injury.
Walking is an aerobic exercise and as such provides many benefits for people who practice it. For example, a study conducted by the University of Tennessee found that women who walked daily had less body fat than those who did not, and had a lower risk of blood clots.
Therefore, the next time you decide to stay seated on the sofa, think about going for a walk, because, in addition to enjoying the landscape, you will get both psychological and physical benefits.
Related article: “The 10 psychological benefits of practicing physical exercise”
The benefits of walking
But what are the benefits of walking? We will explain them to you below.
1. Helps you sleep better
Walking helps release serotonin (5-HT), a neurotransmitter derived from an amino acid called tryptophan. One of its functions is to increase the production of melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles. In addition, to be able to rest and be calm, serotonin intervenes in the control of stress and body temperature.
Walking increases serotonin levels so it helps you sleep better. A study that was carried out at the University of Sao Paulo that evaluated a group of subjects with insomnia, and compared the effect that both moderate aerobic exercise (for example, walking) and vigorous aerobic exercise had on them, concluded that the Moderate aerobic exercise was the one that achieved the greatest benefits regarding sleep quality.
2. Improves mood
A study from California State University, Long Beach, showed that the more steps, the better the mood. Why? As mentioned in the previous point, walking releases serotonin, better known as the chemical of happiness. But, in addition, it also releases endorphins, natural opiates that make us feel really good.
3. Improves circulation
Walking improves blood circulation and prevents cardiovascular diseases.
A study from the University of Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that their research subjects who walked one to two miles a day lowered their blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Subjects who walked for half an hour a day reduced their risk of heart attack by 20 percent.
4. Increases life expectancy
As stated by research from the University of Michigan School of Medicine, those 50 or 60-year-olds who walk regularly are 35 percent less likely to die in the next eight years than those who do not walk.
5. Prevents cognitive decline
A study conducted by the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF), in which 6,000 subjects aged 65 and over participated, found that the more we walk, the slower cognitive decline. Subjects who walked 2.5 miles a day had 17 percent fewer memory loss.
6. Reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s
A study conducted in the Health System at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville found that men 71 to 93 years old who walked a quarter of a daily mile had a 50 percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s, compared to those men of the same age who did not walk.
7. Walking makes you lose weight
Walking is an excellent exercise to lose weight when someone is not yet in good physical condition. For weight loss, especially in the initial phases, aerobic work such as walking is optimal, since it is easy to perform, it hardly poses a risk of injury and generates a predictable and regular energy expenditure. Being a low-impact activity, it doesn’t strain your body like running, jumping, or even dancing. This makes it ideal for older adults, people with a tendency to joint pain, and anyone who wants to leave a sedentary life behind and live a more active life.
When it comes to burning fat, physical activity and daily activities require between 20% and 30% of the total energy reserve. Digestion uses around 10% of the total energy. And the basal metabolism, that is, the energy stored by our body to ensure the functioning of its vital functions ( brain, heart, respiration, etc.) means around 50-70% of all stored calories. Research published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association concludes that women who walk for nine hours a week experience a lower body fat percentage and a higher basal metabolic rate
8. Reduce stress
Stress is an epidemic that has settled in Western societies. The fast pace of life that many individuals live, the demands at work or at school, among other situations, can cause really stressful situations.
Walking allows us to improve our breathing capacity and our oxygenation. to be more calm. Also, like any aerobic exercise, walking reduces levels of cortisol, a hormone released in response to stress, research published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology confirms .
9. Walking strengthens muscles and makes you more resistant
Walking tones leg, gluteal and abdominal muscles. This, added to the improvement of aerobic endurance, you can notice it in the activities you do in your daily life, as it will take longer to be tired or fatigued.
10. Increase vitamin D levels
Walking on a sunny day increases vitamin D levels. This vitamin is obtained mainly by the action of ultraviolet rays. Vitamin D is necessary for normal brain development and may prevent multiple sclerosis (MS).
In addition, a joint investigation by the University of Pittsburg (United States) and the Technical University of Queensland in Australia concluded that vitamin D could have a regulatory role in the development of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
Do you want to know more about the psychological benefits of vitamin D? Visit our article: ” 6 vitamins to take care of brain health “