Benefits of Walking
Walking is also one of the easiest and cheapest things you can do for your heart. But unfortunately many of us don’t do nearly enough of it. Our bodies are meant to move. If you walk consistently, you can help delay or prevent many of the complaints of aging – aches and pains and increasing immobility. Americans are 32 percent less active today than we were two generations ago. We drive to work, sit behind a desk all day, drive home and sit in front of the television all night. If current trends continue, then by the end of this decade, many Americans will exert only slightly more energy than if they slept 24 hours a day.
This is a major problem because physical inactivity is a major risk factor for all premature deaths. It contributes significantly to cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, cancer — even depression and Alzheimer’s.
Moreover, it’s very expensive for our country. In 2008 alone, the U.S. incurred $147 billion in costs associated with physical inactivity. That’s twice the size of the federal budget for the Department of Education!
But walking also has more immediate health benefits. For starters, walking can help:
- Manage weight
- Improve mood and help ease depression
- Boost your immune system
- Maintain mental efficiency
- Strengthen your heart, lungs, and muscles
- Lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels
- Prevent osteoporosis
- Improve energy and endurance