Walking For Health and Wellness

Walking For Health and Wellness

Feb 01, 2024Margaret Barrow

The New Year has come and gone and maybe you have long since forgotten your New Year’s goals. That is okay! You can recommit to your goals any time of the year even if it is not the New Year holiday. Whether it is eating for your age or focusing on hormone health. Maybe it is giving more attention to immune health or mental health by developing a mindful practice. Whatever the goal, you may want to consider including walking for wellness.

Walking is one of the easiest ways to slowly ease into a healthier lifestyle. Plus, walking is a vastly underrated form of exercise that can be done alone, with others, or inside or outside. Not to mention, it is completely free and does not need any investment in expensive equipment or pricey monthly gym membership fees. Here are some reasons why walking for wellness is wonderful. (Try saying that five times fast).

Photo of person's legs from the ankle down wearing sneakers while walking outside.

#1 Walking Can Be Done Alone or with Others

Walking is an activity that can be done alone or with others, it simply depends on your preference. If you enjoy flying solo, catch up on calls, listen to music, or pop in a podcast, but always be aware of your surroundings.

If you prefer to walk in a group, recruit your family and friends, maybe even some neighbors, and start a daily or weekly walking group in your very own community. If that sounds like way too much work, check out the local park district in your city or town and see if they already have a regular walking group established that you can join. You may even ask a friend to join you. Photo credit:  orge Alcazar Narvaez

Astronaut walking on the moon.

#2 Walking Can Happen Almost Anywhere

One of the best things about walking is it can be done anywhere. Whether you are a globetrotter always traveling the world or someone who likes to stay close to home, walking can be done anywhere. Take a spin around the block or your entire neighborhood. Walk the local hiking trails or walking paths in your community to get outside and immerse yourself in the great outdoors. Heck, you can even walk laps around the airport terminal as you wait to catch that next flight. The point is that walking can truly be done anywhere. Photo credit:  Nzoka John

Man and woman walking together outside.

#3 Walking Exposes You to Fresh Air and Sunlight

Again, walking does not necessarily have to be outdoors, it can be done anywhere, but if you can, you may want to head outside to get in those daily steps. A recent study analyzed participants who walked indoors on a treadmill and looked at nature scenes viewed on a TV compared to individuals who walked outside in the awe and beauty of Mother Nature.

The 2018 study published in Sage Journals found that those who walked outside had a more improved mood and lower cortisol levels compared to the other groups who walked inside. This shows that if you can get your daily steps outside in the fresh air it may provide an added benefit.

Let’s also not forget that walking outside gives you some exposure to those sweet sunrays and therefore a dose of Vitamin D. This is not a guarantee every time you go for a walk, weather pending obviously, but when you head outside into Mother Nature, one of the benefits of walking outdoors includes exposure to the sun, ultimately providing you with a daily dose of vitamin D.

Yale Medicine shares that by “Just being outdoors, you get a fair amount of sun exposure and some sun-related generation of vitamin D,” but you should always wear sunblock, especially when outside for a prolonged length of time.

Yes, sunblock will limit the amount of vitamin D you get from the sun, which is why it is also important to include vitamin D-rich foods in your daily diet. Think of foods like fortified cereals, mushrooms, and tofu. You may also supplement with vitamin D as well, but always have a chat with your doctor or a registered dietitian before starting a new supplement as well as the recommended dosage that is best for you and your health. Photo credit:  PeopleImages

Woman wearing walking clothes and a bottle of water walks outside.

#4 Walking is a Form of Self-Care

Walking is also a great form of self-care. A 2017 study published in the World Leisure Journal found that those people who went on regular walks, specifically outdoors, showed improvements in mental states and mood as well as less muscle tension.

If you can, try and walk by a body of water, specifically wherever water collides. (Think of a lake or ocean shoreline or a waterfall). Spots like these hold negative ions, which can have a positive effect on us.

Some experimental research published in the Journal of BMC Psychiatry indicates that exposure to negative air ions is linked to enhanced well-being, less anxiety, lower psychological stress, and reduced depression severity. Photo credit:  stockimagesbank

Two women and a man walking together outdoors.

#5 Walking is Free

Another amazing thing about walking is that it is completely free and requires very minimal equipment. The only thing you truly need is a good pair of walking shoes. Perhaps you already have a good pair or maybe it is time to upgrade, but whatever pair of shoes you rock, make sure you have the proper support you need for your feet and ankles. Especially if you plan on walking outdoor paths that may be a little rocky or uneven.

If you really want to get your walk on, you can invest in a good water bottle or smoothie carrier. Perhaps even some light reflectors if you plan on walking in the early morning hours or evening time after the sun has already gone down for the day. Photo credit:  leaf

Woman wearing exercise clothes and walking along pathway near the water.

#6 Walking is Good for Overall Health and Wellness

Another reason you should consider walking for wellness is because, well, it is good for overall health and wellness (Photo credit: Zinkevych). Some other benefits of walking every day as cited by the Mayo Clinic, include:

  • Improves balance, cardiovascular fitness, cognition, coordination, energy levels, memory, mood, muscle endurance, and sleep
  • Maintains a healthy weight and helps to lose body fat
  • Prevents or manages various conditions, including cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and type 2 diabetes
  • Reduces stress and tension
  • Strengthens bones, immune health, and muscles

Harvard Health has a few more walking benefits including:

  • Boosts immune function
  • Counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes
  • Eases joint pain
  • Helps tame a sweet tooth
  • Reduces the risk of developing breast cancer

Two women hi fiving and walking outdoors.

#7 Walking is Low-Impact

Okay, so you may have made some sustainable swaps in your kitchen, but walking is a good low-impact exercise that makes it incredibly sustainable for the long haul. Less intense than other activities like high-intensity workouts or running, walking is easier on the body and joints making it a great option for a low-impact activity that can be done for years to come. Photo credit:  BalanceFormcreative

Walking for Wellness

Walking is a great low-impact, sustainable exercise, but walking is good for more than just daily movement. Walking benefits range from catching some vitamin D rays to clearing your head to improved overall health and wellness. The next time you are tempted to skip that walk, lace up those shoes, grab a walking buddy, and get after it already. After all, you will never regret a walk.

- Stay Healthy and Happy

Need some more recipe ideas to enjoy after your walk? Check out @Mbveganvegetarianshare or view our CEO at @itsnolasnacks as she shares recipes via video each month on It’s Nola Reels. Do not worry, even if you are not vegan, you will still enjoy these dishes.

Tag us @itsnolasnacks so we can see all of your favorite post-walk recipes.

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