If you’re looking to start a new exercise routine, walking is one of the easiest and most effective ways to get moving.
And the benefits of walking don’t stop at weight loss.
“Taking a walk is stress reducing, enjoyable and good for your health,” said Jaqueline Cameron, MD, bariatric medicine specialist, with the Hartford HealthCare Medical & Surgical Weight Loss Center.
Here are 5 surprising benefits of walking, and how you can incorporate it into your daily routine, according to Dr. Cameron.
The many benefits of walks
The key with any exercise routine is consistency, and walking is an accessible and simple way to be physically active.
“Over time, regular physical activity like walking can consistently improve your brain, your heart, your lungs, your gut health and really, your whole person.”
In addition to helping with weight loss and cardiovascular health, adding a walk to your daily routine can also help:
- Improve your mental health
- Reduce your risk of chronic disease
- Alleviate joint pain
- Improve sleep
- Stimulate the digestive system
Progress at your own pace.
About 30 minutes of walking a day can help you make progress toward your weight loss and fitness goals. But if you’ve been sedentary or if that seems like too much time to commit, Dr. Cameron suggests starting small and working your way up.
“It’s important to start where you are at,” she said. “Roughly 30 minutes a day is the recommended amount of time to be active, but if you’re doing zero right now, then start with two minutes or five minutes, maybe after lunch or dinner to help increase the metabolic bang for your buck.”
Always check with a doctor before starting a new routine.
To be safe, speak with your primary care provider before jumping into an exercise routine – even a low impact one like walking.
“It’s always best to check with your doctor, especially if you have any history of cardiovascular problems,” Dr. Cameron added.
“It’s important to keep in mind why you are doing it and most of all, have fun!”