We tend to take walking for granted. But bipedalism (walking on two legs) is probably our most important evolutionary development. It’s what enabled us to move to every corner of the globe before there was any other form of transportation.
Nowadays, we have largely engineered walking (and most other forms of movement) out of our lives.
And it’s literally killing us.
The sedentary nature of our modern lives (i.e., sitting for long periods of time) is a leading cause of most of the so-called lifestyle diseases, including obesity, diabetes, heart diseases, cancers, and mental disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia.
Which is why walking, the simplest and yet one of the most powerful movements, is so important.
Here are 3 unexpected benefits of walking:
1. It’s one of the most effective exercises for weight loss and cardio-respiratory health. When we walk at a vigorous pace, we enter the ‘fat burning zone’, where we’re literally using fat to fuel our bodies. Walking also works our whole body, including our heart muscle.
2. Regular movement enables our lymphatic and circulatory systems to function properly. This is why we hear the refrain ‘sitting is the new smoking’. It sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s true. When we sit for long periods, there are toxins sitting around (pardon the pun) in our bodies. These toxins contribute to many of the illnesses referred to above.
3. Walking is good for our brains! Besides getting additional oxygen to our brains, walking also produces a host of happy hormones, like dopamine, endorphins, serotonin and oxytocin. All of this makes for a happier, more productive and creative mind.
For a final bonus, you actually get to switch off for a few minutes and appreciate life. The below photo is of the first snow drops I’ve seen so far this year. How amazing is that!