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Walking is one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your health yet it is often overlooked. With the advent of modern transportation we can take a car, ours, or an uber or lyft, a train, subway, plane, bike, board, boat, elevator or “people mover” to our destination. Mankind has invented many many technologies that allow us to take less and less steps each day, but we need them, very badly.

Walking is the best medicine. – Hippocrates.

We forget that we are biological creators and in order for our biology to function properly and efficiently we need to move the biology in it’s innate, organic way. Walking is the most basic form of human movement and because of modern technology we walk less than ever. Wheels have made it easier to travel from point A to point B in a shorter period of time but we need walking to regulate and maintain optimal health for many reasons.

The body benefits and creates chemical changes the longer you walk, and realizing how the body benefits and changes with a short and long walk may inspire you to take more walks, take the stairs, walk to lunch instead of drive, or walk to your local supermarket instead of drive. There are opportunities around us every single day to walk, both short and long-distance that can allow us to transform our bodies and health.

I can say from firsthand experience that I discovered the benefits of walking quite a few years ago. When I was 19 years old I had a job as a meter reader for the DTE, the electric company. My job entailed walking for about 5 or so hours each day. I was thin when I started the job, I didn’t think I could lose any fat because I didn’t believe that I had any. Within under a few months I lost 5 pounds (of fat, I suppose) that I didn’t even know that I had to lose.

You’ll see how walking for just a few minutes, 5, 10, 20 or even a full hour can impact your health in a highly beneficial way.

Your Body And Health Change In Minutes Of Walking

Walking For 1-5 Minutes: 

Your first few steps out the door cause your body to release of energy-producing chemicals in your cells to fuel your walk. Your heart rate increases from 70 to 100 beats per minute. This boosts blood flow and warms the muscles.
Stiffness lessens as your joints release a lubricating fluid to help you move more easily. In this time period your body burns 5 calories per minute. Your body uses fats and carbohydrates as fuel to burn for energy.

Walking For 6-10 Minutes: 

Your heartbeat now increases from 100 to about 140 beats per minute, and you’re now burning up to 6 calories a minute! Your blood pressure rises slightly but is countered by the release of chemicals that expand blood vessels, bringing more blood and oxygen to working muscles. Do not be confused! The more you walk the more it trains your body, heart and cardiovascular system to maintain resiliency and your blood pressure lowers over time with walking.

Walking For 11-20 Minutes: 

Your body temperature rises more, which is good because you begin to sweat and your blood vessels near the skin expand to release heat. As your walk becomes with more determination and energy output, you’ll burn up to 7 calories a minute and breathe deeper. The hormones epinephrine and glucagon rise to release fuel to the muscles. Epinephrine is an adrenaline hormone that is sold (under epipen) that treats asthma attacks and allergic reactions. It acts as a vasoconstrictor and blood pressure support hormone. Why not get it free from a 20 minute walk?

Walking For 21-45 Minutes: 

At this point you will begin to feel invigorated, your body releases more tension and relaxes further. This is partially thanks to endorphins (feel-good chemicals) released in your brain. More fat is burned at this level, and insulin (which is a hormone that helps store fat) drops. This is beneficial for anyone doing their best to release excess fat or heal from diabetes.

Walking For 46-60 Minutes: 

At this level, you’re burning calories, increasing blood flow, oxygenation of the body and excelling all of the previous benefits for a longer period of time. You can keep in mind that you are strengthening your heart, improving your ability to prevent disease, losing unhealthy fat, boosting your vitamin D levels by being in the sun, keeping your body healthy and happy. Studies have shown that walking reduces stress and anxiety and is just as effective (if not more effective) than antidepressants. Your body also benefits by harmonizing your right and left-brain hemispherical activity. In other words, when you take a step with your right food you’re exercising your left-brain. When you take a step with your left foot you are exercising your right-brain. Whatever side of the body you move exercises the opposite hemisphere of the brain. The left-brain is logical, analytical and more process oriented while the right-brain is more creative, spatial and artistic. You’re going to think and feel smarter with each new walk!

Walk more often. Daily if you can, it’s one of the best regulatory practices to maintain ideal health and happiness.

Recommended Reading: Why You Should Walk Barefoot Instead 

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