Why Walking May Be the Perfect Exercise for Your Mind and Body As You Age
You know exercise is good for you. But did you know you don’t have to end your exercise session dripping with sweat to see benefits?
A simple daily walk can have a big positive effect on many aspects of your health.
Walking is great for everything from building bone density to improving sleep quality. Even better, it’s movement many people can do every day.
For everyone who can, here are 11 reasons to get outside and walk today. Plus, we have a couple tips to keep your skin cool, moisturized and protected while you walk.
1. It improves your balance.
As we age, our risk of falling and getting injured increases.
Regular walking helps strengthen the muscles necessary to prevent falls and subsequent injury. In one study, walking was even better than balance training at preventing falls.
(If you’re already at high risk of falling, be sure to check with your doctor first.)
2. It boosts brain power.
Your brain is a large organ that requires a lot of blood flow to perform its best.
Regular exercise, including brisk walking, can help boost blood flow to the brain. That can help with a host of brain-related functions, including memory, concentration, focus and creativity.
3. It helps you sleep.
The connection between moving more and sleeping better is well established. Studies show that getting more steps every day improves both the duration and quality of your sleep—which means you’ll sleep longer and more restfully.
4. It’s good for your bones.
Osteoporosis, a disease in which bone production doesn’t keep up with normal bone destruction, affects nearly 20% of women by age 50. By age 80, 70% of women are affected.
Resistance and weight-bearing exercise, including walking, can help increase bone density and prevent osteoporosis.
5. It costs nothing.
Unlike a lot of other forms of exercise, walking costs nothing and requires no skill or special equipment other than a pair of shoes.
You can walk in your neighborhood, around your home or yard, at a mall, school track or other public space.
6. It improves mood.
Walking (and other exercise) boosts mood through increased blood flow and the release of “feel-good” hormones, including endorphins, dopamine and serotonin.
Together, these hormones help regulate your mood. Regular exercise may even help lessen depression and anxiety.
7. It’s a great social activity.
Meeting with friends for a walk around the neighborhood is the social equivalent of consuming a superfood!
Going on a walk (or an “awe walk”) with someone else boosts all the benefits you get from both exercise and social interactions. You may also find more time to hang out with friends when you multitask.
8. It’s good for your cardiovascular system.
Walking gets your blood flowing in gentle ways that are great for your entire cardiovascular system.
Cardio exercise, including walking, strengthens both the heart and lungs. Brisk walking (3 MPH or faster) can even lower your risk of stroke by up to 37%.
9. It improves digestion.
Studies show that a comfortable 10-minute walk after eating improves digestion and reduces constipation, gas and bloating.
10. It boosts your immune system.
Walking doesn’t just get your blood flowing, it gets everything moving better, including your white blood cells—the cells responsible for fighting off infection.
Walking also strengthens antibodies and reduces inflammation throughout your whole body.
11. It’s good for your joints.
Perhaps counterintuitively, low-impact exercise, like walking, helps lubricate your joints by increasing blood flow to cartilage and the flow of synovial fluid—the fluid that cushions your joints.
That can reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness, and increase your range of motion.
Bonus tip #1: Before you walk, we suggest…
Yes, walking can lead to positive changes for your mind and body.
But if you’re walking outside, simply being out in the elements can have some less-than-positive effects on your skin. For this reason, we suggest taking steps to protect your skin before and during long walks—especially if you’re out in the sun.
Before you head outdoors, we suggest moisturizing with an all-natural moisturizer, like our Boomsilk®.
Boomsilk’s certified organic ingredients include honey and olive oil to quickly moisturize your dry areas. This silky cream also contains beeswax, which acts as a natural occlusive to hold in your skin’s moisture and provide a barrier from the elements.
To apply it, simply smooth full-body Boomsilk over your face and other exposed skin before you slip on your walking shoes.
Bonus Tip #2: Apply a physical sunscreen.
Add a strong sunscreen (with SPF 30+ or higher) on top of your moisturizer to protect your beautiful skin from the sun.
We suggest a physical sunscreen like Boom Sun™. This SPF 30+ sunscreen provides broad-spectrum protection to guard against the damage of both UVA and UVB light. But it’s still gentle enough for sensitive skin.
This featherlight, silky-smooth sunscreen also glides on smoothly in seconds—without leaving oil, grease or a white cast behind.
We suggest reapplying every two hours while you’re out in the sun. Then your skin will stay protected and comfortable so you can enjoy every moment of your beautiful walk.
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