I have long considered that one kilometer is a long distance, at least when I’m talking about my experience of commuting in Manila when I needed to brave the sun, rains, floods, and uneven ground. Enter Beijing… and that distance is just… walkable?! It definitely is, thanks to the capital’s flat terrains and checkerboard-like urban layout.
When it is a blue sky day, I make a point of walking to enjoy Beijing’s views, especially the public parks devoid of a cityscape – just the sky, the greenery, and you. When you walk on a nice day, chances are you’ll spot Instagrammable sights, including gorgeous fiery sunsets or skyscraper reflections that look like spaceships.
Beyond that, walking is known to be one of the easiest forms of exercise that’s beneficial for your overall health. Make it a habit to go the extra mile. Just remember to follow traffic rules and if the air quality is poor, bring a pollution mask – or better yet, do circuits inside your home or in the gym.
Here are some surprising benefits of walking, as explained by recent studies.
Get the creative juices flowing
When you take long walks, your mind wanders too. It is in these moments that you become creative, because walking stimulates the brain. Besides that, walking under the sunshine helps make you feel less angry or sad, warding off depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD), which happens usually during seasonal transitions.
Make your heart healthy
Running is a typical part of a gym routine, but not all people who want to work out can run, even on a treadmill. So fret not if you have a chronic condition because walking is your answer, especially if you need an easy way to lower your blood sugar and blood pressure levels. Besides that, it also reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease and developing breast cancer for women.
Want to increase your metabolism?
…Then walk at least an hour a day and your metabolism will be increased, helping you shed that extra inch in your waist. Not only that, regular walking counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes and improves the body’s response to insulin.
Goodbye varicose veins
When you take regular walks, you also strengthen your lower extremities, including the muscles and joints in your knees, hips, legs, and feet. As a consequence, blood will regularly and properly flow in and from the legs, preventing varicose or spider veins.
Photo: Yogendra Singh via Pexels