Daily exercise is essential for your overall health but it can be hard to find time to commit to an exercise regimen. If you can squeeze in a 30-minute walk over your lunch break or hit the treadmill before work, it will help you lead a healthier life.

Weight loss

Walking is one of the most effective and low-impact ways to alter your body composition. Walking reduces belly fat and increases metabolism. A brisk 30-minute walk burns 200 calories and over time, calories burned will lead to pounds dropped. Toned legs, abs and arms are an added bonus.

Decreased risk of disease

Blocking out time in your schedule for a walk can lower blood sugar levels and overall risk of diabetes, reduce the risk of breast cancer and ease leg restlessness. Walking also prevents varicose veins from appearing, relieves insomnia and can improve your energy level. Incorporating walking into your weekly routine can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, slow mental decline, prevent or manage conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes and can help protect you from the cold and flu season by boosting your immune system.

Strengthened bones

Another physical benefit of hitting the pavement is arthritis prevention. Walking protects the joints, especially the knees and the hips, by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them. For those with arthritis, walking reduces arthritis-related pain and stops the loss of bone mass for those with osteoporosis.

Improved mood

In addition to the physical benefits of walking are improved mental benefits. Walking can decrease anger and hostility, alleviate depression and spark creativity. If you take a walk with a friend, family member or co-worker, there is an added emotional benefit as it turns into a social activity which makes you feel more connected.

Get moving

Convinced to get out there and start walking? Make sure to get the right gear like supportive shoes and comfortable clothing. Don’t forget to warm up, cool down and stretch!

Sparing 30 minutes per day to throw on your tennis shoes and start moving will be worth the effort as you start to see the mental and physical benefits of stepping one foot in front of the other.