This morning, I got up before most of my neighbors and went for a walk. It was early and it’s summer, so the air was cool, but sunshine was warm on my shoulders. Birds chirped. Other walkers waved, “Hello.” It was a great way to start the day.

We all know walking is good for you. Walking often gets overlooked as a fitness tool since it doesn’t blast calories at the same rate as other cardio exercises–like running or cycling. But living a healthy life isn’t all about creating a calorie deficit. If you are looking to live an overall healthy life, here are just some of the reasons to walk why you should incorporate walking into your daily routine:

Reasons to Walk

Walking Boosts Mental Health

According to an article in Arthritis Today, walking greatly benefits mental health in addition to physical health. How? It slows mental decline, lowers your Alzheimer’s risk, improves sleep, lightens your mood and can even be used as a form of meditation.

Walking Aids Weight loss

A regular walking routine can help you get fit and lose fat. Check out this article on how to turn your walk into a workout on WebMD. Not only can you lose some weight, you can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and improve circulation with a regular walking routine. Remember: If you want to lose weight by walking, you’ll need to make sure your walks are more intense and you will need to have a regular walking routine. A leisurely stroll, while great for your mood and bodily functions (see below), won’t do much for weight loss.

Walking Strengthens Bones

Bone is living tissue that responds similar to muscles to exercise by becoming stronger. According to an article National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, “Women and men older than age 20 can help prevent bone loss with regular exercise.” Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that will help make bones stronger. And walking doesn’t impact joints as much as running does.

Walking Aids Digestion

Indulge a little too much at meal time? A walk can help the digestion process and just help you feel better. “Heading for a brief walk, instead of the couch, about 15 minutes after a meal may improve digestion and blood sugar control,” writes Anahad O’Connor in an article in the Well Blog at The New York Times. And a WebMD article says a regular walking regimen of 10-15 minutes several times a day will help digestions, as well as help things…uh…run smoothly through your body.

Have you walked today?