If you're looking to make a change in your life this year, we have a small one we'd like to recommend. Once a day, step outside of your house and take a walk. You could wander through your neighborhood, find a nearby nature trail, or just do a few laps of your backyard. The where doesn't really matter, what's important is to get on your feet and move around for 30 minutes every day.
This may seem like a drop in the bucket, something that's not worth your time, but adding just a bit of gentle exercise to your daily routine can make some big changes in your life.
What kind, you ask? Keep reading this list to see.
1. It will make exercise seem easy
If you're a couch like me, exercise can seem very demanding at first. You have to pay for a gym membership, stay on a tight schedule, buy special equipment or DVDs, and don't forget to buy healthy food! Walking doesn't need any of that, just a pair of shoes and your own 2 feet.
Plus, it's easy to find other walkers to support you, or to convince your family and friends to join in. Walking is so easy, who would turn it down? That's why walking is a great first step on the road to a healthier you: it reminds you that you can do this!
2. It will help you de-stress
Walking especially in a relaxing setting has been proven to reduce the physical components of stress. The Japanese even have a word for this: shinrin-yoku, or "forest-bathing."
But you don't need fancy medical studies or special words to describe the relaxing power of walking. It's like meditation on the move, where you can be alone with your thoughts outside the stresses of your house.
3. Your cardio health will massively improve
It doesn't take running for a marathon to strengthen the muscles that keep your blood pumping. Even very light (but regular) exercise will keep the musecles around your heart and your veins in good shape.
Keeping your blood flowing has a positive effect on pretty much every other part of your body, from your brain down. It will also decrease your risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. It will even make your legs look slimmer, because poor blood-flow causes them to swell.
Click the next page to learn 4 more benefits of a daily walk!
4. Your join pain will get better
Our bodies aren't designed to sit down all day. The more you move, the more the synovial fluid protecting your joints brings them healthy nutrients. Spending an extra half hour on your feet, moving your arms and legs every day can ward off arthritis and osteoarthritis.
For added help, stay on your feet as much as you can during the day. Your body will thank you when you lie down at night and don't feel any joint pain.
5. Your brain will get sharper
Lots of studies show that walking can improve your memory and mental sharpness. It turns out improving the circulation to your brain keeps your gray matter healthy and young, but walking forward on an uneven surface also engages both sides of your brain to give you a mental workout.
6. Your gut will thank you
Why bother paying for special yogurt to help stay regular? Like joint pain, a lot of the tummy trouble we blame on unhealthy gut bacteria or our diet is actually caused by a sedentary lifestyle. In fact, after abdominal surgeries doctors often prescribe walking to patients, because it helps keep everything aligned and working well.
7. You'll lose weight
Yes, this may seem obvious, but often we imagine it takes a Insanity-style workout video to she the pounds, or some other type of brutal workout routine. In fact a brisk walk can get your heart beating so you sweat off the extra weight.
Exercising regularly will also improve your metabolism, so you'll feel full for longer and resist tempting snacks!
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