Top 10 Benefits of Walking

Whether you’re walking up a mountain or just around your neighborhood, you’re helping your body, mood and mind. (Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Walking boosts your energy, improves your overall health, and gives you a more youthful appearance. Here are 10 more reasons to hit the sidewalk, track or trail, from Drs. Mehmet C. Oz, MD, and Michael F. Roizen, MD (via RealAge.com):

1. Fends off heart attacks and strokes. Regular walkers have fewer heart attacks and strokes, lower blood pressure, and higher levels of healthy HDL cholesterol than couch sitters.

2. Changes your RealAge. A regular walking program can significantly reduce your RealAge in 90 days. Find out your RealAge now.

3. Lowers diabetes risk. Walking 30 minutes each day increases your muscles’ sensitivity to insulin, allowing glucose to work properly inside your cells rather than pile up in your bloodstream.

4. Helps you quit smoking. Just a 5-minute walk has been shown to reduce cigarette cravings by releasing mood-enhancing hormones.

5. Slims you down. It’s no secret: walking burns calories. It also squelches the stress and anxiety that can lead to overeating.

6. Keeps you sharp. Physical activity nourishes brain tissue, and research has shown that walking can improve memories in people older than 50.

7. Reduces stress. Walking benefits your mood, and may also be helpful in warding off depression and anxiety.

8. Increases energy. Walking can perk you up, and also improves the quality of your sleep, giving you more energy throughout the day.

9. Boosts your immune system. Walking regularly can lower your risk of arthritis, macular degeneration, and even cancer by 50 percent, compared with people who don’t exercise.

10. Keeps you moving. People are more likely to stick to a walking plan than any other exercise regimen.

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