Walking is one of the simplest (and healthiest) ways to exercise your body on a daily basis. The only equipment required is a comfortable pair of walking shoes and the will to walk. Even 30 minutes a day can have huge benefits, not just for your leg muscles, but for your heart muscle and even your immune system. Implementing walking into your daily routine is a low-impact way to increase overall health but, like with any other new physical activity, be sure to check with your physician before starting a new exercise program. .

Some of the biggest benefits of walking positively impact your health and can increase your lifespan considerably.

Keep reading for seven of the most important benefits of walking…

Increased Heart Health

Studies have shown that walking for just 30 minutes, 5 times a week can reduce the risk of heart disease by nearly 20 percent.

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Reduced Joint Pain

Walking helps the body produce joint lubricant, which eases knee, hip, and other joint pain, including joint pain caused by arthritis.

Immune System Boost

Several studies have shown that people who walk for 30 minutes or more per day have better immunity to upper-respiratory infections and were more efficiently able to fight off infections than their sedentary counterparts.

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Build Muscle Tone

Walking allows you to build or maintain muscle tone in the legs and increases overall strength. Walking in hilly areas or in places with steps can have an even faster and more intense impact on building muscle tone.

Improves Mental Health

By improving blood circulation to the brain, walking has been shown to have a demonstrable effect on reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.

Energy Booster

Walking increases oxygen intake to the brain, which has the desirable side effect of providing an increase in energy as well.

Extend Lifespan

Even if this were the sole benefit of walking, it is  likely worth the effort. Studies have shown that people who walk regularly have a 36% reduction in cardiovascular disease mortality, in addition to lower BMI (body mass index), which also considerably extends one’s life expectancy.

Establishing new habits can be challenging, but walking is a surprisingly easy to add to  your regular exercise routine. Walking is a simple step to better health. You can even get started today – no equipment is needed.

Here’s how…

  • Start in short increments of 10 minutes, a few times a day, and gradually increase your time
  • Take the dogs for walks (or walk a friend or neighbor’s dog).
  • Rather than drive, walk to your local stores..
  • If you use public transportation, get off one stop earlier and walk the rest of the way to work or home.
  • Integrate walking into your daily routine in whatever way makes the most sense for your lifestyle.

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