Scientists Explain What Happens To Your Body When You Walk Every Day



Exercise is essential to your physical and mental health. But what if you are short on time? Well, good exercise doesn’t have to involve intense, long sessions at the gym. All you have to do is take a walk every day. In fact, just half an hour of walking each day can help you feel much better and make positive changes to your health.

Think you don’t need it? Well, think about this: how much physical activity can you fit into your day? For one-third of people, the answer is “not nearly enough” on a weekly basis-and for 95% of people, exercise of any kind isn’t even a daily endeavor. Yikes!

But don’t worry! As we said, you don’t have to do serious weight training or spend all your energy running on a treadmill to reap the benefits. Here’s how scientists explain what happens to your body when you walk every day.

Scientists explain what happens to your body when you walk daily

1. Improved vision

Yes, it’s surprising, but did you know that regular walking can do wonders for your eyesight? Although exercise isn’t necessarily closely related to your eyes, your vision can still benefit from daily walking, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

One condition that is greatly helped by regular walking is glaucoma. This condition is caused in part by pressure on the eyes, and walking can help reduce that pressure. Blood pressure around the eyes must be at a healthy level to avoid the disease.

Given the severity of glaucoma and the ever-increasing number of cases – estimated to affect 111.8 million people between the ages of 40 and 80 by 2040 – it’s no wonder you want to take precautions. Walking is a great way to do that.

Walking can reduce the overall risk of developing this eye disease by 73%. Therefore, it’s safe to say that regular physical activity can lead to healthy eyes and good vision.

2. Better heart health

As a form of exercise, walking offers countless benefits for a variety of reasons. One of its most obvious and enticing benefits is its ability to reduce the risk of developing various cardiovascular diseases.

Daily walking can improve heart health. Studies have shown several links between walking as an exercise and the condition of the cardiovascular system. Here are some heart-related areas that benefit from daily walking:

  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Better blood circulation
  • Stronger heart rate
  • Better cholesterol balance
  • Better fat balance
  • Improved oxygen circulation
  • Stronger organs
  • Lowered risk of stroke
  • Reduced risk of coronary issues
  • Lowered risk of heart disease and failure

3. Better Bone and Joint Strength

Age is the most significant factor in bone and joint degeneration, but it can affect people of all ages. What’s more, one of the best ways to prevent age-related degeneration is to make sure you’re constantly building strength in these regions. Daily walking can do just that. Here’s how:

a) Bone density

Many of us lose bone density as we age. This makes you more susceptible to damage or disease. Regular exercise can help keep your bones strong as they support your weight.

b) Lower back

Suffering from lower back pain can lead to decreased concentration, inability to perform daily tasks, and reduced positive thinking. Unfortunately, it’s not a good idea to do intense exercise. Running and weight lifting are probably off the list, as is jogging.

That leaves walking – and fortunately, it’s a very positive form of physical activity, even for those with this pain. Daily walking can help provide some pain relief from chronic back pain and help you deal with the discomfort more productively.

c) Spine

This is related to our previous point about lower back pain. Walking helps to increase healthy blood circulation, allowing you to enjoy flexibility around your lower back area. This is because blood flow around the spine tends to increase greatly with exercise.

d) Legs

Technically, this isn’t necessarily just about joint and bone strength. But your legs will get stronger and build muscle and endurance if you walk regularly – especially if you walk uphill. This in turn will reduce your problems with joint pain in the legs.

e) Stiffness

Do you have stiff joints that make it difficult to move? Actively walking for half an hour every day can help loosen up your joints. While this may not cure serious conditions like arthritis, it can certainly ease the symptoms.

f) Lower fracture risk

When your joints, bones, and muscles are stronger, you are less likely to get injured. Fractures can put you out of action for months, so reducing your chances of getting one can be a great motivator to start walking.

4. Positive Mental Change

We all seek better mental health and freedom from negative thoughts and disturbances. Walking is a great way to increase this benefit. Believe it or not, walking can have a huge impact on your mental health. Here’s how:

a) Depression

Studies show that those who walk frequently during the week – even with just 200 minutes of physical activity – experience relief from some symptoms of diagnosed clinical depression. Over three years, the positive benefits persisted as long as the habit was maintained.

It is worth noting that the study in question was explicitly conducted on women and may not be entirely accurate for some. However, research suggests that all genders benefit to some degree from regular walking.

b) Stress

If you don’t enjoy power walking for fitness purposes, a low-intensity stroll through a park is more than enough to help. Being outdoors and surrounded by greenery can help you feel more relaxed.

According to a study in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, being in nature and walking for as little as 20 minutes can reduce cortisol levels in the brain. Cortisol is a stress neurotransmitter, and excessive production can lead to anxiety, decreased positive thinking, and other problems.

Walking can also put the brain in a relaxed and calm state. It does this by stimulating certain nerve cells that help calm the senses.

c) Mood

Walking increases the production of positive hormones known as endorphins. This helps you feel happier and more energetic for the rest of the day. Even office workers find that a half-hour walk makes them more eager to continue their work!

d) Cognitive decline

Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease are frightening conditions that many seniors face. The risk of developing these degenerative diseases increases with age. Fortunately, daily walking can help reduce this risk. Studies have also shown that it can do the same for other brain-related diseases, such as stroke.

In general, walking is also simply good for overall cognitive function. It helps your concentration and memory, and keeps your mind clear so you can make better decisions and think more critically.

5. Weight Loss

If you’ve been researching ways to lose weight, you’re probably not surprised to hear that a little daily walking can go a long way in helping you shed those extra pounds. Although it’s a simple exercise, it packs a powerful calorie-burning punch! Here’s how it works:

a) Metabolism

When you walk, your body needs more energy to keep you going. If you walk at a fast enough pace, your body’s metabolism will increase to help your body use its energy stores. You can then enjoy a faster metabolic rate for a few hours afterward.

The best way to get this positive effect is to walk at a moderate pace, or even better, walk uphill at a brisk pace.

b) Fat

Fat isn’t necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but excess fat storage in the body is the main cause of weight gain. It can be potentially dangerous to the body.

In addition, many people feel uncomfortable with their bellies and try to lose belly fat. All you need to do to start this effort is to start walking! Note, however, that you need to walk fast enough to increase your heart rate and deepen your breathing.

c) Digestion

After a meal, take a slow but purposeful walk to stimulate your body’s digestion. This allows your body to begin digesting what you have eaten properly and efficiently, in a positive way, instead of retaining the entire meal as fat.

Studies have shown that walking increases the speed at which food moves through the body and stomach, and much other research supports this concept.

d) Muscle building

Despite being a very low-intensity exercise, walking successfully engages various muscles, providing a full-body workout. Of course, it’s not as effective as weight training or higher intensity workouts, but it’ll do the trick if you’re interested in getting a little stronger!

e) Blood Sugar

Blood sugar, or blood glucose, needs to be properly balanced to prevent problems such as insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Too much blood sugar can also lead to potential weight gain.

Walking after eating has been shown to lower blood glucose levels, resulting in a healthier body overall.

Of course, remember that daily walking works best with other weight loss methods, such as a balanced, healthy diet and perhaps some additional forms of exercise. However, daily walking is certainly a good practice to get you started on the right foot.

Final thoughts on what happens to your body when you walk every day

Not everyone has time to go to the gym. But for as little as 30 minutes a day, you can significantly improve your health by walking. You can do it during your lunch break, after a meal, or even just to pass the time. You’ll be amazed at how much simple physical activity can do for you!

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