Dr. Kristen Mitteness
5 Reasons You Should Go for a Walk Right Now
Many of us brush off walking as a form of exercise because it doesn't feel "hard enough". We often choose to drive instead of walk because it saves us a few minutes. In my opinion, walking is way under rated. Here are 5 reasons why you should go for a walk right now.
1. When we move our bodies while keeping our heart rate below 160 bpm, we will burn fat rather than sugar or carbohydrates. This also helps to improve insulin sensitivity (insulin resistance leads to type II diabetes as well as many other preventable disease). It improves our cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems with very minimal risk of injury or soreness. Walking is an excellent way to accomplish all of the above.
2. Getting outside has been shown to improve your mood. Walking outside can provide a quick mental break from whatever you are working on. It gives your body the chance to explore a different environment. Many people find that after walking outside they feel calmer and happier.
3. Walking outside will result in natural vitamin D production. According to one study, up to 50% of people do not meet their vitamin D requirements. Vitamin D is made in the skin from sun exposure. It is required to absorb calcium and phosphorus, which are both crucial to bone health. Vitamin D acts more as a hormone than vitamin. Deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to various cancers, depression and weight gain. Walking outside with some sunlight hitting your skin can help increase your vitamin D levels naturally.
4. Walking can help prevent and even reduce low back pain. Low back pain often comes from being sedentary. The joints, muscles and ligaments may shorten or tighten reducing the amount of movement and mobility in the area. This can then lead to nerve irritation, as well and low back and hip pain. Walking can ensure that your joints are moving and your muscles are working. When your body works the way it was designed to (for movement!) many aches and pains can prevented or reduced.
5. Your brain health can improve when you walk. The extra blood flow and movement that occurs when we walk can improve your brain's memory and coordination. It can also boost some of the "feel good" hormones your brain produces. It has even been shown to improve creativity.
Walking is free, it requires no specific equipment, you can do it anywhere and you can do it for as little or as long as you'd like! So, what are you waiting for? Go for a walk!