When I moved to Midtown Atlanta, I told my Mom I was going to “make Atlanta a walking city.” And I’m trying—I walk to the supermarket, to restaurants in the neighborhood, and to my yoga studio. Other than that, I walk…to my car.
I spent the past week visiting family in the New York City area, where everyone walks. Everywhere. Not only is it rare to have a car in NYC, it’s inconvenient. Somewhere between walking around the Upper West Side Sunday afternoon and being shoved around by tourists in Times Square on Tuesday morning, I started thinking about the benefits of all that walking.
Here are the top three reasons to get out of your car and start walking:
1. Walking aids in weight management and weight loss
A study published in 2012 found that walking briskly for 30 minutes each day can cut the genetic affect of obesity in half. So if you come from a family with a history of obesity, you can lower your risk of becoming obese by simply walking for a half hour.
Being that genetics are largely to blame for how much weight one gains, this is a big deal! Get off the couch and start walking!
Walking doesn’t only help those who are predisposed to becoming obese—it’s good for everyone. It’s a great way to lose weight. In a 15-year study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women between the ages of 18 and 30 who walked for four hours each week were 44% more likely to shed pounds over the 15 year period than those who did not incorporate walking into their exercise routines.
2. Walking decreases cravings
Do you crave chocolate? It’s okay, I certainly do! Chocolate is the most commonly craved food—and walking can help you ward off those temptations. In a study conducted at the University of Exeter, researchers found that a brisk 15-minute walk can significantly reduce chocolate cravings.
The next time you find yourself fiending for some chocolate, hop on the treadmill or walk down the street!
3. Walking boosts your mood
Feeling down? Exercise has been proven time and time again to boost your mood, increase self-esteem, and reduce stress. If you need a little pick-me-up, walking is a great go-to. It can be difficult to drag yourself to the gym—or out of bed for that matter—when you’re feeling down, and running usually seems daunting. Walking is the perfect alternative. Start off at a moderate pace, and as you begin to feel better, take it up a notch.