The Benefits of Outdoor Walking to Your Health

America is suffering something of a long-standing health crisis, as our global economic standing vastly outstrips our ranking in terms of public health. Smoking and obesity are the two leading causes of preventable deaths in the US, contributing to a significantly shorter average life expectancy than countries like Italy, Australia, and Switzerland.

While public health messaging and adequate access to healthcare options can help mitigate the effects of these causes on a national level, there are habits we can form on a personal level to improve our own relationship with health, in both the physical and mental sense. There are two simple changes in particular that can have a profound effect: walking and experiencing the great outdoors. After a difficult two years navigating a global pandemic, they are all the more important to re-introduce as a regular part of our daily lives – and here’s why.

The Benefits of Walking

Walking is something we do every day and, as such, not something we might attribute any form of health benefits to. But if done with the right frequency, regular walking can be an incredibly impactful form of light exercise with a number of positive results on us and our bodies.

According to a clinical study, moderately-intensive walking is tied with running for a reduction in cardiovascular disease risk over a six-year period, a powerful endorsement of an underrated form of exercise. Being a form of aerobic exercise, walking can also serve to improve our breathing and lung capabilities – especially important for those quitting smoking!

All of this to say nothing of the mental health benefits that come with exercise. Even a light walk can produce vital endorphins, improving our mood over time and reducing the effects of anxiety on the brain. 

The Benefits of the Great Outdoors

Separately, the act of stepping out of your front door can be a revolutionary one for your health. A simple venture into the outdoors can provide you with Vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, a deficiency that can cause depression, high blood pressure, and even osteoporosis over time. Exposure to fresh air can invigorate you and also boost your immunity to airborne infection.

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Walking Holidays for Mind, Body, and Soul

So, what if you were to combine the above? Taking regular walking trips can benefit both your physical and mental health – giving you a much-needed break from day-to-day life, exposing you to new landscapes, and allowing you to reap all the benefits listed above in a low-pressure setting. 

Taking yourself abroad to the UK could introduce you to the brisk mountain air of the Pennines or the Grampians, while northern Italy has beautiful mountain forest paths that also benefit from a Mediterranean climate. Even a short hop north of the border can have you treading Canadian lake routes or hiking the Yukon.

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