7 incredible results from walking 30 minutes a day
Just step this way... it turns out to be the easiest way
you can boost your health and your mood!
Taking a walk a day is kind of like that proverbial apple: there’s a good chance it’ll keep the doctor away. From helping you lose weight and de-stress to lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of many chronic diseases – going for regular walks is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health, says Dr Melina Jampolis, author of The Doctor on Demand Diet: “Walking is the number one exercise I recommend to most of my patients because it is very easy to do, requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes, and has tremendous mental and physical benefits,” she says. Here’s what you can expect when you start walking for just 30 minutes every day, most days of the week.
1. YOUR MOOD WILL IMPROVE
You know how sometimes it takes a glass of wine or a square (or three) of dark chocolate to blunt the edge of a rough day? Well, going for a walk is a zero-kilojoule strategy with the same benefits, says Jampolis. “Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility,” she says. What’s more, when you make your walks social – you stride with, say, your partner, a neighbor, or a good friend – that interaction helps you feel connected, says Jampolis, which boosts your mood.
2. YOUR CREATIVE JUICES WILL START FLOWING
Whether you’re feeling stuck at work or you’ve been searching for a solution to a tricky problem, research shows it’s a good idea to get moving. According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Jampolis.
3. YOUR JEANS WILL GET A LITTLE LOOSER
This one may seem obvious, but it’s certainly a happy benefit for those who start walking regularly, says Jampolis. “As you continue to walk, you may notice your pants begin to fit more loosely around your midsection, even if the number on the scale isn’t moving much,” she says. “That’s because regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat.” The best part? You don’t have to slog it out on a treadmill at the gym to see these benefits.
4. YOU’LL DECREASE YOUR RISK OF CHRONIC DISEASE
The statistics are impressive: researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that regular walking lowered blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20 per cent to 40 per cent. “The physical benefits of walking are well documented,” says fitness expert Scott Danberg. With impressive results like these, there’s a good chance you’ll get a pat on the back from your doc at your next check-up.
5. YOU’LL START TO GET MORE “REGULAR”
If you praise coffee for keeping your digestive system going strong, get ready to start thanking your morning walk instead. That’s because a regular walking routine can improve gastric mobility, says physical therapist, Tara Alaichamy. “One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilises core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system,” she says.
6. YOUR OTHER GOALS WILL START TO SEEM MORE REACHABLE
When you become a regular walker, you will have established a regular routine – and when you have a routine, you are more likely to continue with the activity and take on new healthy behaviours.