Perhaps one of the biggest and most publicized benefits of getting regular physical activity is that it increases happiness. Yes, exercise equals better mood. Believe it or not, it is. There are no extravagant or miraculous formulas, and that’s better, this is something that is within your reach. If you don’t believe it, and before you click that little ‘x’ at the top of the page, take a look at the benefits of walking and what actually happens in the brain after a mere 20 minute walk.

Walking releases chemicals that are beneficial to the body

You may have heard that “magic” feel-good chemicals called endorphins are released during and after exercise. But what does it really mean? It is much more complex than it seems.

First, your brain recognizes exercise as stress and releases chemicals to “protect” your body from that stress. From the moment you start walking – as the pressure in your heart builds – a protein called BDNF (brain derived from neurotrophic factor) is released.

BDNF protects but also repairs memory neurons in the brain, effectively acting as a reset switch.

As Leo Widrich explains, this is why you often feel so comfortable and things seem clearer after exercise. At the same time, endorphins (also chemicals that fight stress) are released in the brain.

Endorphins minimize the discomfort of exercise while walking, block the sensation of pain, and give you that addictive “feel good” high.

Together, BDNF and endorphins provide mood-boosting and mental clarity. But it’s important to remember that you don’t have to run marathons to reap the benefits of exercise.

One of the biggest mistakes is that exercise has to be hard. That exercise means running the marathon or riding a bike for three hours or doing something really strenuous. But human beings were born to take a walk.

Additionally, research suggests that you might not actually benefit from exercising more than 20 minutes a day. You get to live longer and have a lower risk of prolonged illness – all of those things come in the first 20 minutes of being active.

The best exercise you can do for your body and mind is walking. Every day.

If people want to be healthier and extend their lifespan, all they really need to do is go for a walk. It is the easiest thing anyone can do.

What are the 10 benefits of walking

Strengthens the heart

Walking strengthens the heart reducing the chances of cardiovascular complications. It has been shown that, for example, nurses who walk long hours a week have 35% fewer heart complications than other sedentary women of the same age.

It’s good for your brain

Cognitive function is improved with a daily walk. Especially the elderly reduce the risk of complications in the cerebral vessels reducing the chances of senile dementia among other diseases.

Eliminate stress

Eliminates stress, improves mood and provides more strength.

Prevents type 2 diabetes

Walking 140 minutes per week can reduce the risk of diabetes by 58%.

Improves cardiorespiratory endurance

Increased lung resistance will lead to healthier and stronger lungs, better able to resist any viral or bacterial infection.

Helps relieve symptoms of depression

Walking for 30 minutes a day greatly helps prevent or alleviate depression.

Reduces the risk of colon and breast cancer

Walking briskly for 20 minutes a day significantly reduces the risk of developing colon cancer by 20%. This is because walking helps speed up digestion by preventing the accumulation of semi-digested food and fecal matter that can cause inflammation. In addition, by improving the irrigation of all the body’s organs, the body’s defense system works much better.

Walking is good for your bones

Postmenopausal women must acquire this habit without fail. In this way, a higher bone density is achieved, which prevents breakage among other benefits.

Avoid obesity and cellulite deposits

A brisk, short walk several times a day has the same effect as an aerobic gym session in maintaining body weight by balancing the metabolism.

Improves physical ability to resist other diseases

Osteoarthritis, the functional disability of old age, hit those people with a good muscular habit less intensely. There is no physical condition of aesthetics or health that is not favored by the habit of walking.

Walking is not just for the feet and legs but it is beneficial for the entire body and mind. The increase in microcirculation achieved with a daily walk results in an undoubtedly better quality of life.

And as if that weren’t enough, as all this happens while you walk doing it more regularly, your mind begins to produce other chemicals more often; those substances that will generate everything we have described, which opens up new states of mind that will produce more positivity and creativity, healing you of anguish almost immediately.

Take advantage of all these benefits, overcome the laziness of going for a walk. Take a walk with your friends, your partner, your family so that it becomes even more enjoyable and everyone can enjoy the benefits of this wonderful activity.

By Dr. Eric Jackson

Dr. Eric Jackson provides primary Internal Medicine care for men and women and treats patients with bone and mineral diseases, diabetes, heart conditions, and other chronic illnesses.He is a Washington University Bone Health Program physician and is a certified Bone Densitometrist. Dr. Avery is consistently recognized in "The Best Doctors in America" list.

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