With the hustle and bustle of life and work, it can be difficult for some people to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines. According to a CDC report on adult physical activity, America has a 25.3% overall prevalence of physical inactivity, with seven states having more than 30% of their population physically inactive. This puts them at higher risk for other illnesses, including decreased immune function, as well as chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes and heart disease. These growing concerns have encouraged states, communities, worksites, and individuals to take action to make it easier for people to move more.
For people looking to overcome inactivity, going on a simple walk can bring about a plethora of benefits — allowing the pursuit of physical health to be sustainable and accessible. Although these are well-known benefits, there are also other hidden perks of walking, as listed in the article below:
Physical health benefits
As mentioned earlier, walking is a great form of exercise, especially for people who are usually inactive. In fact, walking 10,000 steps a day can greatly improve health and even promote weight loss. Moreover, walking can improve your brain’s performance by enhancing its ability to reorganize, repair, and adapt to new situations. This subconsciously reinforces healthy habits, helping you stay well and in a peaceful state of mind. If you’re interested in measuring how much you’re getting out of your walks, you can opt to use a pedometer. Many of these come in the form of smartwatches, which tracks the number of steps you’ve taken, heart rate, and other medical statistics. Some modern versions also have an added GPS feature, which can be helpful for recording the routes you’ve taken.
Even without a set destination, walking is a great way to get out and about. If you have a dog, walking can help you both get some exercise in — with the added benefit of being able to spend time together. This can be helpful for those living off-grid or in tiny homes, as changes in lifestyle are not easy to handle alone. Taking walks lets you slow down and meet your neighbors, creating great opportunities for friendly interactions and establishing the potential for community building. You can even invite neighbors to go on walks with you, engage in physical activities, or pursue other healthy recreations like gardening.
It’s unsurprising that choosing to walk instead of taking the car can reduce air pollution. However, some reports don’t share how big of a positive impact it makes on the environment. An Imperial College London study on alternatives in mobility found that by just changing one trip per day from car driving to cycling or walking, a person could reduce their carbon footprint by about 0.5 tons in a year. If even 10% of the population made small changes to their travel behavior, the world could save up to 4% of carbon emissions originating from car travel.
Furthermore, if more people chose to walk, cities and towns would be encouraged to develop sidewalks and green spaces like parks to encourage safer walking. These areas would then be able to clean the air and reduce carbon dioxide levels, making urban streets better for everyone’s health.
Walking is a simple way to improve one’s physical health. In addition, it allows people to slow down and connect more while leaving a positive impact on the environment. By taking the time out of your day to take even a 30-minute walk, you can reap the many benefits of exercise.