Walking has a lot of health benefits. Sport and wellness logic are trendy nowadays. That is a good thing. But many of these Workout practices are designed to lock us in rooms. What if the most important physical activity for staying healthy was nothing more than walking?
Contrary to what one might think, walking is the most effective way to get in shape. The human body is designed to walk. Walking is not only a fun form of training but also a gentle, low-impact, super convenient, and free activity that is suitable for almost everyone.
Walking, at a pace of 5 to 8 km per hour, is considered moderately intense exercise. If you keep your pace within this range and walk at least 30 minutes almost every day, you will get the most out of your efforts. You can even split your walking time into 10-minute periods to accommodate a busy schedule.
Here are 10 reasons why you should walk to improve your health:
A minimum amount of daily physical activity will help you lose weight. Do not be overly ambitious here, as more intense activities will prove more effective. Still, the benefits of walking are genuine, especially after twenty minutes of continuous effort.
In one hour, a person weighing 154 pounds will generally burn:
- 460 calories when walking at 7.2 km/h.
- 280 calories walking at 5.6 km/h
- 370 calories when hiking at moderate intensity
Combined with a healthy diet, burning so many calories through regular walks can help you lose weight.
Studies show that people who walk more often tend to be slimmer than people who are less likely to walk. Results from a meta-analysis showed that obese or overweight men and women of all ages who walked regularly lost, on average, 0.05 kg per week without making any changes to their diet.
You can lose more weight if you incorporate strength training exercises into your walks, by using free weights or by adding weights to your ankles.
There is no doubt that walking is good for the heart. An analysis of 42 studies that included the clinical results of 1,843 walkers confirmed that people who join a walking group significantly improve their:
- Blood pressure (systolic and diastolic)
- Resting heart rate
- Total Cholesterol
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
- Percentage of fat mass
- VO2 max (maximum oxygen consumption)
Apart from all these benefits, walking has no adverse effects, according to most people.
Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking and hiking, are essential for maintaining bone strength because the force of gravity is exerted on the entire skeleton, helping to increase bone density as a benefit of walking.
Better bone density is an essential factor in the prevention of fractures in postmenopausal women. According to the 12-year Nurses Health Study, women who walked at least four hours per week had a 41% lower risk of hip fracture compared to those who walked less than one hour per week.
Improves Your Mood
Are you feeling stressed? Why don’t you go for a walk?
Walking is excellent for mental health and can combat depression. For some people, exercise may be just as effective as medication.
Physical activity releases endorphins and improves mood. One study found that university students under stress were able to significantly lower their levels of the stress hormone cortisol by going for a walk. While all forms of walking help reduce stress, students who walked in nature reaped the most benefits.
It is not surprising then that many people come back from a brisk walk with red cheeks and a smile on their face.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF WALKING
Here, it is the digestive walk that proves to be particularly useful. In aerobics, the body can make better use of insulin. It is then necessary to walk quickly after a meal to fight diabetes.
Strengthen Your Heart
Inhale. Exhale. You are on the move, and your heart rate’s accelerating. Your brain is getting aerated with better perfusion, the arteries are relaxing, and your lungs are oxygenating. A Harvard study showed that walking for 20 minutes a day decreased your risk of heart disease by 31%.
Boost Your Immune System
The next time you feel like you are coming down with a cold, take your dog for a walk in the park or go for a walk in your neighborhood, as this may help your immune system.
Research shows that walking and other forms of exercise boost immunity by:
- Increasing the number of natural killer cells and white blood cells known as neutrophils.
- Improving the body’s response to vaccines
- Lowering the levels of inflammatory molecules
Staying active later in life is especially important because physical activity helps to slow down age-related immune system deterioration.
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Improves Balance & Posture
Walking can help improve your balance and posture as you age. Nordic walking, which involves walking with poles in your hands, is particularly beneficial because it works the muscles of the upper and lower body. The use of poles provides extra support for those who lack stability on uneven terrain.
Researchers found that women between the ages of 65 and 74 showed a significant improvement in their walking posture after participating in a 12-week Nordic walking program. As a result, they were less at risk of falling as they got older.
Living the Seasons
By being outside regularly and not inside more frequently, you will appreciate the seasons at their real value. You will observe nature and see its slow and beautiful evolution. You will start by walking thirty minutes around your home and who knows, you will end up programming hikes to discover other regions.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF WALKING
Promotes Social Engagement
One of the best ways to stay motivated to walk regularly is to join a walking or hiking club. Walking in the company of others allows you to socialize, meet new people, and discover new routes that you might be hesitant to take on your own.
Socializing is good for mental health. Research shows that adding a social dimension to walking reduces the risk of depression. Walking with a group may also increase your walking speed.
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Ways to include walking in your life are many and varied: solo trekking, walking clubs, Nordic walking, brisk walking, hiking, walking with a dog, etc. Whatever your choices in this area, you will certainly improve your general health, fitness, and perhaps even your social life by walking.