#Walking is free, easy and doable for almost everybody. But even then people tend to ask why should we go for walks? Well, walking never gets the respect it deserves. Its health benefits, its value for transportation and its value in recreation usually go unacknowledged. A simple morning walk is an amazing way to improve your overall health. Here’s what all it can do for you:
1. Improves your concentration
There is good evidence that going on a brisk walk in the morning can improve your brain health and thinking skills, helping you focus on your thoughts better. It also improves memory, cognition, learning, and reading, thus lowering your risk of cognitive impairment. Moreover, studies also suggest that an early morning walk can ward-off the age-related memory decline.
2. Relieves stress and energizes you
A 30-minute walk in the morning will fill your body with the energy that you require to get through the day and help you fight stress. It improves the blood circulation in the body and keeps you active and alert throughout the day.
According to a 2018 study , taking a morning walk helps clear cortisol, stress hormones, and improve circulation of blood, thereby helping you to stay calm and happy. Moreover, you should try walking in a natural environment settings such as parks, gardens and green spaces, as it was found to be more restorative than walking in urban surroundings like roads and malls.
3. Helps lose those extra pounds
Most of us have a desk job, which makes us spend most of the time sitting, which in turn leads to weight gain. Walking every day can help you burn more calories and reduce your risk of weight gain and related health complications. It is a form of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise which can help you to burn up to 100 calories per mile.
Moreover, a 2014 study published in the Journal of Exercise, Nutrition, & Biochemistry revealed that women who walked for 50-70 minutes thrice a week for 12 weeks showed a significant reduction in the waist circumference by 2.8 cm and lost around 1.5% of their body fat. So, if you have belly fat, walking can help you to cut down that extra flab.
4. Enhances your creativity level
Stuck at a point and can’t think of what to do? Here’s a simple and quick solution for people in the creative field. Take a break and go for a quick walk outside. A 2014 study revealed that walking boosts creative ideation in real-time and shortly after going for a walk. A short stroll in the outdoors can stimulate the brain and open up the free flow of ideas along with improving physical activity.
5. Boosts your immune system
Battling another cough or cold? Feeling tired all the time? You may feel better if you take a morning walk daily. Morning walk helps boost your immunity and fight off several diseases. It may increase the production of antibodies and WBCs. These antibodies and WBCs circulate more rapidly, detecting illnesses earlier than they could before and preventing you from getting ill.
A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. Moreover, the duration of sickness in the people who walked was shorter and their symptoms were milder.
6. Reduces your risk of heart diseases
If you have any risk factor for heart disease, then don’t be surprised if your doctor asks you to walk every day to keep your heart healthy. Walking is known to improve blood pressure control, reduce resting heart rate and strengthen the heart muscle, thus protecting you against heart diseases.
Several studies have documented that 15 minutes of daily exercise can cause a 15% reduction in deaths due to cardiovascular diseases. Moreover, another 2002 study revealed that women who either walked or exercised vigorously at least 2.5 hours per week had around 30 percent lower risk of suffering from cardiovascular disease post-menopause[5,6].
6. Lowers the risk of diabetes
Walking is strongly associated with lowering the risk of diabetes. A daily walk of 30 minutes can help you get better control of your blood sugar levels.
7. Makes you less prone to cancers
Yes cancer! Studies suggest that taking a brisk walk in the morning daily may slow down the progress of cancer not only in early stage but even in advanced stages. Daily morning walk also helps in coping with side effects of chemotherapy, especially in cases of breast cancer and prostate cancer.
8. Enhances your life expectancy: Want to live longer? Make sure you walk every day. Walking on a daily basis can add years to your life and make you live a long life. A research study published in the Journal Public Library of Science Medicine  showed that walking can add up to 7 years to your life, irrespective of your age and weight. Moreover, walking will also help you to stay fit, healthy, happy and enthusiastic about your future as compared to your couch-potato friends.
It is long back proved that regular physical activity is the key for good health. Physical activity does not have to be vigorous, moreover, it does not even need to be done for long periods in order to improve your health. Now that you know that even a simple morning walk can do wonders to your health in the long run, get walking!
(The article is reviewed by Dr. Swati Mishra, Medical Editor)
1. Erickson K, Raji C, Lopez O, Becker J, Rosano C, Newman A et al. Physical activity predicts gray matter volume in late adulthood: The Cardiovascular Health Study. Neurology. 2010;75(16):1415-1422.
2. Ewert A, Chang Y. Levels of Nature and Stress Response. Behav Sci (Basel). 2018 May 17;8(5). pii: E49.
3. Oppezzo M, Schwartz D. Give your ideas some legs: The positive effect of walking on creative thinking. J Exp Psychol Learn Mem Cogn. Jul 2014;4(40):1142-1152.
4. DeLee, J., R Thompson, S. Drez, Miller M. ed. (2015). DeLee & Drez’s orthopaedic sports medicine : principles and practice.. 4th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier/Saunders, Chapter 20.
5. Yates T, Zaccardi F, Dhalwani N, et al. Association of walking pace and handgrip strength with all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: a UK Biobank observational study. European Heart Journal. 2017;38(43):3232-3240.
6. Manson JE, Greenland P, LaCroix AZ, et al. Walking compared with vigorous exercise for the prevention of cardiovascular events in women. N Engl J Med. 2002 Sep 5;347(10):716-25.
7. Physical Activity/Exercise and Diabetes. Diabetes Care. 2003;27(Supplement 1):S58-S62.
8. Ligibel J, Alfano C, Courneya K, et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology Position Statement on Obesity and Cancer. Journal of Clinical Oncology. 2014;32(31):3568-3574.
9. Patel A, Hildebrand J, Leach C, Campbell P, Doyle C, Shuval K et al. Walking in Relation to Mortality in a Large Prospective Cohort of Older U.S. Adults. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2018;54(1):10-19.
10. Moore SC, Patel AV, Matthews CE, et al. Leisure time physical activity of moderate to vigorous intensity and mortality: a large pooled cohort analysis. PLoS Med. 2012;9(11):e1001335.