Special Report

This Is Why Walking Is the Best Exercise

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11. Improves sleep

You’ll sleep better after you’ve walked. That’s because walking naturally releases levels of melatonin, the hormone that helps you sleep. A sleep study published in Oxford Academic last month found that postmenopausal women who walked or did some kind of exercise before they went to bed had better sleep quality than sedentary women.

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12. Reduces stress

Walking lowers stress by increasing blood flow and bringing oxygen and nutrients to muscles and reduce tension. Walking helps reduce stress hormone production. A University of Missouri study found that higher-intensity walking reduces stress more than lower-intensity walking. The researchers suggest people add a higher-intensity walking interval to their routine as a more effective way to lower stress.

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13. Builds stamina

More frequent walking builds stamina and endurance. Improved stamina means you will burn off calories more efficiently, and that will help keep off the weight. A person who walks frequently and weighs 150 pounds can burn off 100 calories per mile through long distance walking.

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14. Increases longevity

To live longer, try a low-impact, low-cost, and accessible physical activity such as walking. Getting between three and five times the recommended amount of exercise, which translates to walking about an hour a day, may contribute to living longer, according to researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the American Cancer Society.

Regular walking has also been linked to lower mortality rates among older physically capable men as well as among adults with diabetes.

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15. Tones body

Walking can strengthen and shape your legs, as well as tone your calves, quads, hamstrings, and lift your glutes. To improve body tone further, try walking on a hill or inclining your treadmill. Walking speed and greater resistance will put more stress on the hamstrings and glutes.

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