Woman receiving benefits of walking outdoors in Saratoga County, NY

April 6th is National Take a Walk Day! Walking is a low impact exercise that can be done by anyone either indoors or outdoors. However, when taking a walk outdoors, your body receives benefits that an indoor workout cannot typically provide. Enjoy these top 8 benefits of walking outdoors. Take a walk by yourself to get some much needed quiet or alone time, or grab your family, friends, or a few neighbors to take along with you.  

Maintain a Healthy Heart

Walking outdoors is a great way to maximize your overall heart health. This easy exercise can improve cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and help maintain or lose body weight. All these factors work together to ensure your heart is in healthy shape. 

Enhance Mood

The physical activity and motion that walking requires increases blood flow and circulation within your body and brain. The circulation in the brain helps to release endorphins which helps to enhance your mood and make you feel happier. 

Burn Calories

Another one of the benefits of walking is that it can burn anywhere from 100-400 calories for 30 to 60 minutes of walking at a normal pace. This can be maximized by walking at a faster pace, for a longer period of time, at an incline, or by adding weights while you walk. This is a great way to burn some extra calories to help maintain a healthy weight. 

Strengthen Muscles

Walking helps to strengthen muscles and maintain flexibility. It is a great way to move your body and target both upper body and lower body muscles. Walking can also be beneficial for people who need a low impact exercise to recover from a previous injury. 

Boost Energy

Similar to enhancing your mood, another one of the benefits of walking is that it can help boost your energy level. Walking increases oxygen flow within your body. This helps to increase levels of cortisol and other hormones that work together to increase energy levels. It can also help clear your mind, increase productivity, and enhance your creativity levels. 

Improve Sleep

Walking is a form of exercise that helps produce melatonin, which is a natural sleep hormone. One of the benefits of walking outdoors is that aside from producing melatonin, Vitamin D also helps to regulate the circadian rhythm which can in turn have a positive impact on your sleeping habits. 

Increase Vitamin D

By walking outdoors in the sunlight, you receive many health benefits that you otherwise would not when walking indoors. Vitamin D from the sun can help regulate the immune system, increase blood flow, reduce inflammation, and increase relaxation. Combining the health benefits from walking in general and walking outdoors, it provides you with a successful workout that provides maximum health benefits to your body and mind.  

Bond with Friends or Pets

Walking outdoors is a great activity to do alone, with friends or family, or your pet. It’s a fun way to get exercise out in the fresh air and spend quality time with people or pets you care about while they get some exercise too. It can be a great way to get to know your neighbors as well by inviting them along and making it a weekly or daily activity.