Special Report

This Is Why Walking Is the Best Exercise

Source: dusanpetkovic / Getty Images

21. Increases lung capacity

When people think of exercising, they usually think of weight loss and heart health. But the lungs benefit tremendously from regular physical activity. Walking increases lung capacity and strengthens the lungs, which makes breathing easier. When you walk, or when you exercise in general, the body uses more oxygen and circulation speeds up. This increases your breathing reserve. In other words, you are less likely to be short of breath.

Source: fstop123 / Getty Images

22. Good for old age

Long-term regular physical activity, including walking, is associated with “significantly better cognitive function and less cognitive decline in older women,” according to a 2004 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study included nearly 19,000 women aged 70 to 81 who were assessed for cognitive decline over two years. It found that women who walked at an easy pace for at least 1.5 hours a week had higher cognitive scores than those who walked less than 40 minutes a week.

Source: jacoblund / Getty Images

23. Increases productivity

Next time you feel stuck and need to produce a steady flow of creative thought, you may want to try walking. A 2014 Stanford study found that people who walked saw an increase of 60% in creative output compared with people who remained seated while taking a divergent thinking test. It’s worth mentioning that walking helps boost creative brainstorming, but if you need to find a single, correct answer to a problem, you should sit down and focus. In this case, walking is only a distraction, according to the study.

Source: fizkes / Getty Images

24. Improve fluid intelligence

Fluid intelligence is a psychology term that simply refers to a person’s ability to think logically and solve problems. According to a 2013 study conducted by researchers at Boston University School of Medicine, aerobic exercise, such as walking, improves cognition due to certain hormones that are at increased levels during exercise.

A recent Australian study found that aerobic exercise enhances fluid intelligence in people who have had a stroke if combined with cognitive training such as memory exercises.

Source: AndreyPopov / Getty Images

25. Reduce PMS symptoms

Every month, for a few days or a week, about 90% of women complain of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Symptoms can range from mild, such as bloating, to severe such as debilitating headaches. Women can try walking to alleviate the pain. Some research has found that aerobic sessions, such as walking, for 60 minutes three times a week for eight weeks makes women feel much better physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Sponsored: Tips for Investing

A financial advisor can help you understand the advantages and disadvantages of investment properties. Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to three financial advisors who serve your area, and you can interview your advisor matches at no cost to decide which one is right for you. If you’re ready to find an advisor who can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.

Investing in real estate can diversify your portfolio. But expanding your horizons may add additional costs. If you’re an investor looking to minimize expenses, consider checking out online brokerages. They often offer low investment fees, helping you maximize your profit.