Walking is simple, free and one of the easiest ways to get more active, lose weight and become healthier.
Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health benefits. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training. Physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health benefits. A 2007 study of inactive women found that even a low level of exercise around 75 minutes per week improved their fitness levels significantly, when compared to a non-exercising group.
Walking is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of day and can be performed at your own pace. You can get out and walk without worrying about the risks associated with some more vigorous forms of healthy exercise. Walking is also a great form of physical activity for people who are overweight, elderly, or who haven’t exercised in a long time.
The Benefits of Walking
Walking can boost your mood and ease or prevent depression and anxiety. It helps to dissolve stress. It can also aid concentration, mental focus and therefore productivity in your work and personal life. Try splitting up your 40 minutes of walking throughout the day by taking breaks for short walks a few times daily. You might find that this clears your thoughts and mind so that you can get back to your tasks in a refreshed and vital state.
It also wards off heart disease, brings up the heart rate, lowers blood pressure and strengthens the heart. Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Tennessee found that post-menopausal women who walked just one to two miles a day lowered blood pressure by nearly 11 points in 24 weeks. Women who walked 30 minutes a day reduced their risk of stroke by 20 percent by 40 percent when they stepped up the pace, according to researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston.
Gives you energy
It might seem like a paradox (and the last thing you might feel like) but a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers around. It boosts circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in your body, helping you to feel more alert and alive. It wakes up stiff joints and eases muscle tension so you feel less sluggish. Always have a mid-afternoon energy slump at work? Head out for a walk at lunchtime instead of sitting in a café or at your desk and see what a difference it makes. Here are some other quick ways to boost your energy levels.
Weight loss is one key benefit that you can experience when you walk for 40 minutes a day. You can lose weight throughout your body, including your abdomen, hips and legs. With walking, weight loss tends to occur at a steady, healthy pace that is not too fast or slow. How much you lose, and how quickly, depends on factors such as your walking speed and intensity. For more weight-loss benefits, pick up your pace and swing your arms as you walk.
Strengthens your heart
Reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke by walking regularly. It’s great cardio exercise, lowering levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. The Stroke Association says that a brisk 30-minute walk every day helps to prevent and control the high blood pressure that causes strokes, reducing the risk by up to 27 percent.
Lowers disease risk
As well as heart disease, a walking habit can slash your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, asthma and some cancers. A study in the British Medical Journal showed taking more steps every day can help ward off diabetes. And according to the charity Walking For Health benefit, regular exercise such as walking could reduce risk by up to 60 per cent. Those of us who are active have around a 20 per cent lower risk of developing cancer of the colon, breast and womb than those least active.