Forget running and walk to your fitness – an amazing aerobic exercise that helps in weight loss and improves overall health by reducing the chances of developing chronic diseases like cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and obesity. 30 minutes of moderately brisk walking for at least 5 days a week can bring about remarkable changes in health. If you are hard-pressed for time and cannot give 30 minutes at a stretch then you can break it up in 3 ten minute sessions – 10 minutes of walking while going to office, 10 minutes of walking during lunch and 10 minutes of walking on the way home.
Tips for Planning your Walking Routine
Before getting started, it is important to keep a few things in mind, and these few tips can make your walking an enjoyable experience.
It is important to warm your body up by walking for the first 10 minutes at a slow pace so that the body can cope up with the upcoming exertion.
Cooling down after walking is as important as warming up, and this can be done by slowing down the pace as you reach the end and walk for the last 10 minutes slowly.
Stretching can be done before or after completion of the walking exercise. Do a few sets of stretching exercises to mobilize the muscles and joints.
Choosing the Right Gear:
Choosing the right walking or running shoe with the proper fit, arch support and flexible soles is important to minimize chances of injury and to increase the effectiveness of walking.
Selecting the Track:
Choose a track that is safe and is smooth and well maintained and try to avoid roads with pot holes.
Benefits of Walking for Improving Overall Health
We all know the useful aspects of physical exercise, but the lack of time and tiredness keeps us from including it in our daily routine. But walking is one such easy and modest exercise that requires neither equipment nor trainers, and can be followed by people of all ages.
Helps in Weight Loss
Weight loss is a long term goal that can be achieved only through equilibrium of a well-planned weight loss diet and regular exercise and walking is one such modest and easy exercise that helps in burning considerable amount of calories without the hassle of going to the gym. Brisk walking as an exercise boosts up metabolism that helps speed up the fat burning process and what’s even better is that your body continues the calorie burning process even when your body is at rest. Walking also helps in increasing the amount of lean muscle mass that is important for a flab-free, sculpted and lean appearance.
Improves Cardiovascular Health
The health benefits of walking are beyond measure. Any high intensity exercise such as brisk walking for up to 30 minutes helps in boosting the heart rate that increases blood pumping – an amazing exercise for the heart muscles and the circulatory system that helps in maintaining cardiovascular health and decreases the risk of heart attack and stroke. It also keeps other risk factors of heart diseases under check. Power walking keeps high blood pressure under control and reduces the level of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood while sustaining HDL (good) cholesterol at constant level.
Tones the Body
Fitness enthusiasts often depend on walking to lose weight. But this simple exercise also helps in toning the whole body other than weight loss. It is an effective exercise for weight loss that tones all the muscles of the back and legs including the glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves. It also helps in working the abdomen muscles and reduces inches from the waist. In addition, it also benefits in toning the arms and shoulder muscles because the swinging movement of the arms when you walk helps is improving the pace and this movement automatically works the muscles of the arms to cut out flab from them.
Walking is good for health of bones and joints. Osteoporosis is a progressive bone disorder that is most common among women in their menopause. The benefits of exercise for improving conditions of osteoporosis and arthritis are well acknowledged, but exercises are painful. In this case, walking arises as a welcome substitute that is a kind of mild weight training with body weight that helps in improving bone density and bone strength. Walking is beneficial for preventing osteoporosis and also improves the condition of bones for those already suffering from it. So, include 30 minutes of walking for at least 5 days a week in your fitness schedule to keep bone diseases at bay.
Reduces the risk of Dementia
The benefits of walking are not restricted to prevention of heart disease and weight loss only. Regular walking also helps in preventing Dementia. The term Dementia describes a collection of symptoms linked to cognitive decline such as weakening short term memory and forgetfulness. Alzheimer’s diseases is the most common form of dementia that is a progressive degenerative disorder. The brain’s hippocampus and prefrontal cortex regions that are responsible for memory and complex thinking are responsive to physical activity. Walking can help in preventing these problems by reducing brain shrinkage and promoting the preservation of memory. Research reveals that regular physical activity such as walking can reduce the risk of dementia by 50%.
Boosting energy level also comes under the list of advantages of walking. Regular walking for up to 30 minutes helps in improving overall health by increasing energy supply in the body. Brisk walking boosts the supply of oxygen and blood to each and every muscle and organ of the body, thus preventing muscle and joint stiffness and lethargy and making you feel more energized. So, go for a walk for at least 15 minutes the next time you’re feeling sluggish at your desk post-lunch and see the difference yourself. In addition, it is also helpful in reducing stress and anxiety and promoting restful sleep.
Controls High Blood Pressure
It is possible to control high blood pressure naturally through regular exercise, but the restraint of time often keeps us from doing the same. Therefore, doctors often prescribe walking for health and reducing hypertension. Research shows that going for 30 minutes of walk reduces not only systolic blood pressure throughout the day, but also the following day as well. Hypertension is called the “silent killer” also because in majority of circumstances, people don’t even realize that they have it and it silently destroys the heart and surges the risk of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure.
Controls Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes has emerged as one of the most widespread chronic diseases throughout the world. A well-planned diabetic diet combined with regular exercise is the best method to treat type 2 diabetes and what better and easier option can there be other than walking. Power walking exercise helps in lowering glucose level in blood and increases insulin sensitivity of the cells which is extremely beneficial for people suffering from type 2 diabetes. Walking after meals is especially effective because it promotes the muscles to use more glucose. It is also helpful for treating prediabetes condition.
Improves Oxygen Supply
Brisk walking is an aerobic exercise that increases the supply of oxygen to each and every cell of the body because walking makes the cells more active and it calls for more energy. It promotes the heart and the lungs to work more efficiently to ensure maximal intake of oxygen. It helps in supplying oxygen to the muscles and tissues and removing toxins and waste from the body. Regular walking also improves oxygen supply to the brain and improves cognitive functions, boosts memory naturally and enhances academic performance.
Elevates the Mood
Our ever busy and hectic lifestyle with pressure of meetings and deadlines makes our life full of stress and anxiety. But walking is an amazing natural therapy of stress relief that also helps in boosting the mood instantly. Power walking is a moderately intense exercise that promotes the release of feel-good hormone endorphins that works as an effective antidepressant and helps in relieving stress and anxiety. Instead of reaching out for antidepressant pills, get your walking shoes on and hit the road in order to lift your mood and fight stress.
So, now that you know the amazing benefits of walking for fitness and overall health, include it in your fitness regime and hit the road to stay in the pink of health.
Image Sources: svhealthcare.org, the-village.ru.