This One Simple Tip Can Make Your Daily Walk 10x Healthier
An outdoor stroll is a great way to get in some daily movement and embrace the fresh air. Even if it's just for 10 to 15 minutes a day, this activity can have a significant impact on both your mental and physical health. Now, if you're looking to maximize that daily walk, listen closely: As award-winning writer and walking expert Annabel Streets shares on the mindbodygreen podcast, all you need to do is start humming.
Allow us to break down this simple technique and how it can supercharge your stroll.
Why you should hum while you walk.
First things first: If you choose to hum a tune while you're walking, you'll be forced to breathe solely through your nose. And nasal breathing, as you may know, is important for lung health and immune function. "Your nose has the most extraordinary filtration system1," Streets says. "It manages to filter out the pollution and pathogens," which is especially helpful if you're walking in a big, bustling city. Our mouths, on the other hand, don't have this same knack for filtering out particles. "It just goes straight into your lungs," she adds.
Nasal breathing also releases nitric oxide, which is a molecule that plays an essential role in increasing circulation and delivering oxygen to the cells. "It's been linked to good lung health and immunity, and it helps just push blood and oxygen all the way around your body and up to your brain," says Streets. The amount of nitric oxide in the body can also influence metabolic health, mood, and sexual function. So yeah, you could say it's a pretty important molecule.
And guess what? Humming makes nitric oxide even more powerful. "If you want to increase the amount of nitric oxide your nasal cells make, you just need to hum as you're walking," Streets explains. In fact, research shows that humming leads to a 15-fold increase in nitric oxide levels.
You don't have to hum loudly, of course; just a quiet hum will suffice—perhaps to the tune of a relaxing song. Not to mention, this intentional humming and nasal breathing combo will encourage you to remain mindful during your walk, which can help ease stress and support whole-body health. That being said: Walking outside regularly is A+ for your mental and physical well-being, and humming can enhance those benefits even further.
Many health experts emphasize the importance of daily movement, and walking is one way to do just that—and it's completely free. If you want to increase the benefit of your daily stroll, try humming while you walk in order to boost nitric oxide in the cells and support your lung function, immune system, circulation, mood, and more. And if you want to elevate your daily walk even more, Streets shares a few walking mistakes to avoid as well.
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more. She previously interned for Almost 30, a top-rated health and wellness podcast. In her current role, Hannah reports on the latest beauty trends, holistic skincare approaches, must-have makeup products, and inclusivity in the beauty industry. She currently lives in New York City.