Take a Walk Every Day

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It’s not just for working your legs!

Pop quiz: what was the first major motorless transport invented by humans? Carriages? Horseback? Nope, trick question; it’s walking. The ability to walk on two legs was one of the major evolutionary traits that separated our ancestors from their simian cousins, and that ability has carried us through the ages, not just in the literal sense, but in the health sense.

Obviously, going for a walk every day, whether outside or inside on a treadmill, is good for your legs and heart. But what you may not know is that daily walking can have lots of additional benefits, both on your body and mind. For instance, walking, much like most kinds of physical action, is a good stress reliever. Using your body to move gives your mind something to focus on besides life’s usual irritations. Less stress, among the other positive benefits we’ll get into in a moment, helps to protect you from the development of certain chronic diseases.

In addition to improvements in your emotional well-being, a daily walk can subtly enhance several positive aspects, while lessening the impact of certain negative ones. Going on a walk gets you blood circulating, which can help to lower your blood sugar level. This can be helpful if you live with diabetes, or just need to dial down after a big meal. Speaking of sugar, some studies have shown that regular walks can lessen cravings for sweet stuff. Who needs sugar to stimulate when you’re already out and about?

But of course, the first and foremost benefit will always be physical. A brisk walk will work your leg and lower body muscles, though it can also help to strengthen your bones. Regular physical activity, even light stuff like walking, keep your bones from becoming brittle and your muscles from atrophying.

So if you’ve got nothing else to do today, why not take a walk? Go by yourself or with a friend or family member. I know your dog would probably appreciate it.