The health benefits of walking
If you’re looking to get active, get social and get outdoors, there’s nothing better than walking for a step in the right direction.
With plenty of great treks, hikes and routes all over the world, all you really need is a good pair of shoes and the sky really is the limit. Go out and get lost for hours, join a club or simply walk to the shops instead of drive - your chance to walk presents itself every day and the health benefits are tremendous.
So let's take a look at walking and see just how much the body benefits from getting on our feet and getting active in the great outdoors!
Health benefits of walking
There are plenty of associated health benefits of walking ranging from burning calories to increasing bone density, but it’s not just the physical aspect that you’ll see people pull their shoes on for.
There’s a huge mental aspect to walking too with the fresh air allowing clear thinking and a great headspace for creativity. It’s no surprise that so many take to walking when they’re having a little of a stressful time.
You can see a full list of walking health benefits below:
- - Increased cardiovascular capability
- - Increased pulmonary capability
- - Increased bone density and muscle strength/endurance
- - Improvement of a variety of health conditions including hypertension, joint and muscular pain and diabetes
- - Reduced body fat
- - Reduced stress
Are steps important
You may start to become transfixed with the step count on your smartphone, smartwatch or pedometer, but the fact of the matter is the number of steps isn’t all that important.
Depending on the terrain you’re walking, steps might not mean all that much at all. If you compare a 2hr hike to a 2hr walk around an athletics track, it’s the latter that will have the more steps - but which do you think has had the best impact on the body? I’ll give you a clue - it’s the one involving rocky terrain and height elevation…
Steps aren’t everything!
How long to walk for
You don’t have to walk for longer if you’re wanting to see some of the aforementioned benefits, but rather make smart choices in day-to-day life to incorporate it where you can.
Walk to work instead of driving, head to the shops on foot or even take the stairs over the escalator - it all gets you moving. If you’re wanting to get out on some more serious hikes, there’s no reason to push it from the off. Take your time and slowly build in time as you feel more comfortable - Rome wasn’t built in a day!
The social aspect of walking
If you’re wanting to make a few new friends or chat when you’re heading out and about, walking is absolutely perfect.
It’s not so intense that you’ll be breathing heavily so you’re able to get some good conversations in. Join a group, chat with passers-by or make friends on the trail - there’s plenty you can get yourself into.