Walking, “A very simple task. Is it even considered exercise? Can one gain any benefits from it?”
Many a times we hear such statements, where walking is not even considered a proper exercise. People often understate the need for and the benefits of walking. Let’s look at what walking can do for you.
Walking, be it slow, brisk, or fast, can be highly beneficial if done regularly, especially when included with other strategies such as eating a balanced diet and doing some other simple exercises. Among the three above, brisk walking is considered the most dependable. Brisk walking is a relative term, since brisk for some, is either slow or quite speedy for others, depending on their level of fitness. Whatever it is, experts say that steps per minute can be a measure to quantify brisk walking, which is often 100 steps per minute or more.
If you are a beginner to walking, then start your walk at a slow pace slowly increasing the speed as you progress. Even when you start your daily walk, it is better to warm up first by walking slowly for the first five minutes and do brisk walking, and remember to slow down the speed towards the end and walk for five minutes. This way you won’t be reducing the stress on your body.
How often should you walk? There is no hard and fast rule but walking for at least 30 minutes daily is ideal as it helps to burn 150 to 200 calories. Start by walking at least thrice in a week to begin with and later daily while increasing the pace at which you are walking. Age, gender, health conditions, and fitness also need to be considered while walking.
Now that you have an idea of how to walk and how often, let’s see how you may benefit of walking.
- Walking outdoors relieve stress and elevate mood.
- It improves blood circulation causing each cell, tissue and organ to receive more oxygen hence making them function properly.
- It helps to tone your legs and shed off the extra pounds which piled around your waist and also your overall body.
- It protects from cardiovascular diseases as the heart gets enough supply of oxygen through blood.
- It quickens the heart beat and makes it stable.
- It helps to battle obesity.
- It helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure.
- It also helps to maintain a healthy blood sugar level especially in the case of type 2 diabetes as it reduces the resistance of cells to insulin.
- It can boost memory as the brain gets enough oxygen and remains active.
- It will slow down the ageing process.
- When walking with a partner outdoors, the social interactions will encourage good communication and thereby increasing self confidence.
- It improves immunity as walking increases the number of immune system cells.
- Stress eating can be reduced as research states that walking helps to release endorphin which is a stress relieving hormone. Less stress means less stress eating, less eating means a healthy body weight.
- When walking becomes a habit, it is more likely that you will be able to meet your other goals as well.
- It prevents memory problems and dementia.
- Walking increases productivity both physically as well as mentally because you remain active the whole day when you start your day with a walk.
- It helps to get a peaceful and sound sleep.
- Research suggests that regular walking is associated with creativity, the mind will be cleared by walking and thereby it will be free to think properly and logically.
- The nutrition supply to the nervous system and other organ systems will be increased.
- Improves lung capacity.
- If you are having varicose veins, or are likely to get varicose veins then walking will be a great idea to deal with them as the bold flow will be improved and these clots will be reduced. The venous system is formed by muscles, veins, and valves located in our calf and foot, this system works to push blood back up to the heart and lungs; walking strengthens this system by strengthening and preserving leg muscles, which boosts healthy blood flow.
- The risk of chronic diseases will be reduced.
- Walking strengthens bones, the body utilizes calcium with the help of vitamin D, and walking in the mornings will help you get the daily dose of vitamin D which is required by the body.
- It will help to strengthen muscles and maintain a good muscle tone.
- It improves digestion as a regular walking routine will greatly improve gastric mobility.
- Improves your mood. Walking outdoors will help you get fresh air and walking with a partner will help you get social support.