It’s one of the easiest, most effective ways to stay in shape — and now science says there are additional health benefits.
Sleep Even Better
Put aside worries that being active at night might ruin sleep: People who walk or jog in the evening often report sounder slumber, says a study from Sleep Medicine. A 15-minute post-dinner stroll can also help prevent heart disease and diabetes, finds a George Washington University study. Walkers who did short bouts after each meal saw a healthier dip in blood sugar than those who strode for 45 minutes consecutively. The biggest benefit? You get a good night’s sleep and stable blood sugar to keep cravings at bay, helping with weight loss.
Burn More Calories
Add a set of special ski-like poles to blast fat and tone your arms at the same time. The fitness craze is called Nordic walking and, yeah, you might feel a little goofy at first, but compared to regular walking, it burns 20% more calories while also increasing upper-body strength and lower-body flexibility. It’s a two-for-one workout that actually seems easier thanks to the poles. Tip: Spring for Nordic-walking poles, which have no-slip tips and start at $70.
Europeans have taken walking vacations for years and now the trend is catching on here. For good reason: A new study from Stanford University shows walking increases creativity by 60% and doing it outdoors is best for sparking your imagination. Sign up for a destination — we like the sound of Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia or the California coast — and leave all other details to the tour operator. Countrywalkers.com is a great place to start your research.