Forget an apple a day, if you really want to keep the doctor away, go for a 30-minute walk a day. Just a half hour of this easy activity can do impressive things including lowering blood pressure and reducing risk for chronic diseases. Dr. Melina B. Jampolis says, “Walking is the number one exercise I recommend to most of my patients because it’s very easy to do, requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes, and has tremendous mental and physical health benefits.” Here’s what you can expect if you start going for 30-minute walks every day.
- You’ll improve your mood - Research has shown that walking regularly can decrease anger and hostility by modifying your nervous system and if you walk with a buddy, that social connection can boost your mood even more.
- Your creative juices will start flowing - Feeling blocked or stuck on a tricky problem? One study finds that going for a walk can spark creativity.
- You’ll burn calories and lose weight - Personal trainer Ariel Lasevoli says that walking is one of the most effective low-impact ways to change your body composition. She explains, “Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss.”
- You’ll lower risk for chronic disease - The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers blood sugar levels and overall risk for diabetes. Other research has shown walking can lower blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease as well.
- You’ll keep your legs looking great - Walking is a proven way to prevent those dreaded varicose veins from developing.
- You’ll protect your joints - Contrary to what you might think, pounding pavement can actually improve your range of motion and mobility because walking increases blood flow to tense areas and strengthens muscles around joints.
- You’ll live longer - Staying active and moving helps older adults live longer, according to one study.
- You’ll sleep better at night - Exercise helps you sleep better and walking can ease pain and stress, which could mess with your sleep.