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What Does Walking Work on Your Body?

author image Crystal Welch
Crystal Welch has a 30-year writing history. Her more than 2,000 published works have been included in the health and fitness-related Wellness Directory, Earthdance Press and Higher Source. She is an award-winning writer who teaches whole foods cooking and has written a cookbook series. She operates an HON-code-certified health-related blog with more than 95,000 readers. Welch has a B.B.A. from Eastern Michigan University.
What Does Walking Work on Your Body?
A man and woman are walking together. Photo Credit: RK Studio/Blend Images/Getty Images

Walking can improve your overall health in a number of ways. It benefits your entire body by increasing your heart and breathing rate in an efficient, low-effort way. Walking at any level provides health benefits, but optimum cardiovascular benefits occur by working at a moderately brisk level for 30 minutes on five or more days weekly. Check with your doctor first, since walking may not be for you.

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Your Cardiovascular Systm

Walking strengthens your cardiovascular system and its functioning. Your cardiovascular system consists of your heart, arteries and blood pathways. Engaging in cardiovascular activities, such as walking, for only 30 minutes daily can reduce the risk of heart disease, according to the American Heart Association. If walking 30 minutes each time proves time-consuming, divide your workout into 10-minute increments. Alternatively, wear a pedometer that keeps track of your steps throughout the day. When you reach 10,000 steps, you will walked the equivalent of 30 minutes. Walking at a moderately brisk level or higher can improve your cholesterol profile by lowering harmful cholesterol and increasing beneficial cholesterol. A healthy cholesterol profile lowers your risks of developing heart disease, according to the American Heart Association.

Improving Your Musculoskeletal System

Your musculoskeletal system consists of your body's bones and muscles. Walking benefits your musculoskeletal system in a variety of ways. It provides a low-impact activity that strengthens bones without placing too much stress upon the skeletal system. This proves especially beneficial for recuperating surgical patients or individuals afflicted with joint concerns or mobility issues such as arthritis. Walking increases bone density, which lowers risks of developing the weakened bone condition known as osteoporosis.

Reducing Body Fat

Walking burns calories and can play a major role in weight management and weight loss. Walking one mile at a moderately brisk rate burns 100 calories, according to an article by Martina Navratilova in "AARP Magazine." When done on a consistent basis, walking can help you lose weight. Lower weight means less abdominal fat and a lower risk of developing cardiovascular conditions.

Improving Your Mental Outlook

Walking improves your mental outlook. As a form of cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise, walking releases endorphins. Endorphins provide an enhanced feeling of overall well-being while lowering stress levels, both physically and emotionally. Physically, lower stress levels reduce muscle soreness, high blood pressure, pain and tightness, and they promote healing. Emotionally, lower stress levels reduce your risks of depression as well as negative mindsets such as impatience, feeling out of control, anger, feelings of hopelessness, pessimism and isolation. Walking can also improve your independence and self-confidence levels.

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