When it comes to your fitness routine, taking a solid stroll isn’t the sexiest thing on the menu, however, adding one or two to your weekly routine can actually do some serious good! We’re not even talking about the usual benefits either — like improving your blood pressure, easing stress or getting stronger. We hear all about it from those friendly step competitions between fellow Fitbit and Strava wearers, but what is walking really getting you? Let’s take a closer look at some of the hidden benefits a walk can have on your health, mood and focus level.
1. Kick that sweet tooth
Yes, you heard right: A walk can help ease those nagging urges for something sweet. If you’re guilty of sugar loading before bed (we feel you, dessert lovers), this is a great way to soften the blow. If you’re a stress eater, this is also a great way to mitigate your bad habits. Studies by Harvard have shown that a casual walk during stressful situations can help cut cravings for chocolate. Try this next time you feel a stress craving or sweet hunger pang!
2. Sharpen your brain
The more you walk, and the more you vary your daily route, keeps your mental game on point, allowing you to stray from the energy-sucking, same-routine boredom. If you walk to work or you commute, try making a small change in the way you leave your place, or simply take a new route on your lunch break each day. Break those habits, and watch your mental ability to problem solve excel!
3. Boost your immune system
If you’re susceptible to the flu, this tip’s for you. The rumor is true: Those who work out regularly are less likely to get sick during peak sick seasons. This includes the bare minimum of 20 minutes of physical activity (a.k.a. a simple walk). If you’re finding yourself run down due to a hectic work schedule or life as a busy mom or dad, try carving out a little time to walk, even if it’s just up and down the stairs in your house or apartment building!
4. Relieve joint issues
If you sit at a desk all day, or stand for prolonged periods of time, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your joints. Studies have shown that walking helps strengthen your bones and joints, which can lead to a lower chance of getting arthritis as well as fewer joint injuries as you get older. The more you keep your muscles and joints in regular motion, the stronger you’ll become, even if it’s just a few minutes a day!
So, what are you waiting for? Get on your feet and get after that step goal!