If there was one simple move you could make that could help erase more than 15 common health concerns, would you want to know about it? How about if I told you it was completely free and required no special equipment or training, either?
I bet you’d be both curious and a bit skeptical too. Well it’s absolutely true, and there isn’t even a catch.
All you have to do is step out your front door, place one foot in front of the other, walk for 15 minutes, then turn around and walk back. It’s that easy.
And for that small bit of effort, you get all these benefits…
According to California State University in Long Beach, people who take more steps during the day are happier. Walking releases feel-good, pain-killing chemicals that naturally help boost your mood.
2. Protection against breast cancer:
The American Cancer Society studied the specific benefits of walking, and discovered that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14 percent lower risk of breast cancer than women who walked for three hours or less.
3. A healthier heart:
Slash your risk of heart disease, and lower blood pressure by nearly 11 points simply by taking a daily walk. The Mayo Clinic and other major universities have done studies backing this one up.
4. Improved circulation:
The Harvard School of Public Health reports that women who walk for 30 minutes a day reduce their risk of stroke by 20 percent. And if you’re willing to put some real pep into your step you can reduce your risk by an incredible 40 percent.
5. Fewer varicose veins:
Walking improves circulation and helps strengthen your veins, so you’re less likely to develop unsightly varicose veins. Already have them? Walk anyway! According to the Vein Treatment Center in NYC, walking eases the other symptoms associated with varicose veins, so they won’t bother you as much.
6. A sharper brain:
In a huge study of 6000 women conducted at the University of California, women age 65 and over who walked 2.5 miles per day were found to have significantly less age-related cognitive decline than women who walked less than half a mile per week.
7. Alzheimer’s disease protection:
It’s not just those normal, age-related “senior moments” that walking puts up a fight against. It turns out strapping on your walking shoes could actually protect you against developing dementia too. Researchers at the University of Virginia found that men who walked more than a quarter mile a day are far less likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia than men who walk less.
8. Better problem solving skills:
According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, walking makes you more creative when it comes to problem solving. Feeling stressed out because you can’t come up with a solution for something? Need to think outside the box? Go for a walk.
9. Better bones:
Lend your bone-building calcium and vitamin D supplements a hand. A daily half hour stroll could slash your risk of a hip fracture by up to 40 percent.
10. Stronger muscles:
Your leg muscles are the ones carrying you around on your walks, so naturally they’re going to get stronger. That in turn could reduce your risk of falls and injuries, as well as improve your balance according to the Mayo clinic. Pump your arms while you’re at it and you’ll build them up, as well.
11. Effortless weight loss:
Every time you take a walk you burn extra calories. And when you put in less calories than you burn the weight will start melting off. Before long you’ll see the number on the scale drop and you’ll feel the difference in how your clothes fit.
12. A constipation cure:
Turns out one of the easiest ways to keep your bowels in working order is to take a regular walk. If you find yourself occasionally fighting bouts of constipation developing a walking routine could be all it takes to keep them from coming back.
13. Better sleep:
An hour walk in the morning could help you sleep better at night, according to the folks at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle. They studied women aged 50 to 75 and found there were significantly fewer insomnia complaints among the walkers.
14. An immune system boost:
Researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston—where they know a thing or two about cold and flu season—say walking can help improve our immune system. In a study of 1000 people, walkers had 43 percent fewer sick days than non-walkers. And when the walkers did get sick, they had milder symptoms and recovered faster.
15. Have sweeter breath:
File this one under “Odd but true.” When you walk you increase blood flow, which helps move bad breath-causing toxins out of your system faster.
16. Less joint issues:
While your instinct may be to take a seat when your joints hurt, what you really need to do is get moving again as soon as possible. Walking helps move joint lubricating synovial fluid into the cartilage where you need it.
17. A longer life:
If it’s not quite obvious enough by now, researchers out of Michigan say walking can help us live longer. Men in their 50s and 60s who walk regularly are 35 percent less likely to die within the next eight years than their sedentary counterparts.
So what are you waiting for? Strap on your walking shoes and make a move.