Tuesday, December 8, 2015

5 Awesome Health Benefits of Ditching Your Car & Walking

It has been scientifically proven that walking more and sitting less provides multiple health benefits. Your heart gets stronger, and healthy oxygen is pumped throughout your body where it is put to work powering all of your inner and exterior physiological systems and functions. When it comes right down to it, you know you should be physically active more often.

While you may be extra busy this time of year, you also have lots of great opportunities to walk more, as you hit the malls for all that holiday shopping! Parking is a nightmare anyway, so why not walk (if you can), or at least park far away from the store entrance instead of fighting for that last parking spot near the door? As an incentive to "ditching" your car when it is not really needed, take a look at the following 5 health benefits you can enjoy by walking instead of driving.

#1. You May Live Longer

The Archives of Internal Medicine have released some scary statistics about sitting: Sit between 8 and 11 hours a day and you are 15% more likely to die from any cause than those who sit for 4 hours or less daily. You probably do not spend several hours driving in your car every day. But the evidence that extended sitting shortens your life span should provide enough motivation for you to walk instead of driving your car whenever you can.

(Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.)
#2. You Will Lose Weight

A UK study showed that parking your car and walking can lead to more weight loss than regimented diet and exercise! The research measured the BMI of 7,534 men and women. Men who walked or rode their bikes to work were on average 7.0 pounds lighter than their driving counterparts (allowances were made for demographics such as age, fitness level and other factors). Walking women were approximately 5.5 pounds lighter. What a great incentive to walk more this month - it can help you keep off those extra holiday pounds!

#3. You Will Feel Happier

There is plenty of research which equates being outdoors with a sense of happiness. Just 10 to 15 minutes a day exposed to sunshine actually gives you a sense of happiness and peace of mind. (The reason you feel happier walking and driving might have a lot to do with benefit number 5 below.)

#4. It Will Make Your Friends and Family Healthier Too

Fitness is contagious. When you start walking instead of driving, losing weight and looking great, people will notice. Your family members, friends and coworkers will ask you what you did to lose the weight. When you tell them it was simply by walking instead of driving, you can have a positive health impact on others.

#5. It Helps Relieve Anxiety and Stress

There is a reason why the daily commute can lead to road rage. Driving to and from work or anywhere else, especially in a crowded metropolitan area, can lead to anxiety, panic and a whole lot of stress. The next time you are going for a short drive and it is beautiful outside, walk instead, and see just how stress-free the experience can be.

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