Physical activity does not have to be necessarily complicated. Even a daily brisk walk can help you lead a healthier and happier life. Walking might not sound as cool as hitting the gym or indulging in sportier activities. Studies show that walking every day can deliver an array of impressive benefits. Walking is a gentle, low-impact exercise that is free, easy, and available to everyone. Here we are providing you with some of the health benefits of walking.
As you plan to start your walking schedule, make sure you get the right gear. Try choosing comfortable shoes with proper arch support and avoids paths with uneven turf, cracked sidewalks, and potholes. Make sure you keep your chin up and spine straight. Walk slowly for 5-10 minutes to help your muscles cool down. Once you have cooled down, try stretching your muscles gently.
Health Benefits of Walking
Less Likely to Suffer Cardiovascular Problems
Any activity that gradually sets your heart rate up is certainly good for cardiovascular health. This is what exactly happens when we walk fast or run. But, if you cannot run or speed up your walk, walking longer may also help. Walking helps in lowering the levels of LDL (bad cholesterol), blood pressure and reducing the risk of stroke and heart disease.
Weight Loss and Battle Obesity
Walking is actually the easiest forms of exercises. It is great if you are planning for a daily morning walk to lose weight and tone your legs. However, you need to keep this mind that the faster you walk the more calories you burn. Walking at 2mph for 30 minutes will burn 75 calories. Speeding it up to 3mph will burn 99 calories and 4mph will burn 150 calories. Studies show that brisk walking throughout the day can lower the risk of obesity by 5%.
Walking can help in curbing diabetes, especially type 2 diabetes. Start with a slow-paced 3-5 minute walk followed by 5-10 minutes of stretching session then walk at moderate speed. This can reduce the overall healthcare costs to a significant extent.
Physical activity improves metabolism, helps in regulating hormone levels, and boosting immune functions. According to a 2005 study report, walking or exercising regularly can make the colorectal cancer patients 60% less likely to die from the disease as compared to the patients who did not walk or exercise. Further, according to a survey conducted by the American Cancer Society, walking up to 7 hours a week can be effective in reducing the risk of breast cancer in women by 14%.
Boosts Brain Function and Memory
One of the best benefits of walking daily is that it can boost your memory. Studies show that regular brisk walking can help in slowing down the shrinking of the brain and the faltering mental skills brought by the old age.
Provides Energy and Lifts Mood
Walking helps in improving circulation and increasing oxygen supply to every cell in your body. This makes you more active and energetic. Moreover, walking can instantly lift your spirits and mood. Studies show that a walk is as effective as popping a mild anti-depressant pill to moderate the cases of stress, anxiety, and depression.
One of the benefits of walking daily is that walking may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly. This is especially beneficial if you are insomniac. An outdoor morning walk may be helpful as the exposure to daylight can keep you stay in tune with your natural circadian rhythms.
If you are not getting enough time in the morning, try going for an evening walk. Walking can also be beneficial in curbing your stress eating habits. Walking helps in releasing endorphin into your system that reverses the cortisol (a hormone released in response to stress) levels and helps you to curb stress eating. Walking around 10,000 steps a day, meditating, and getting ample sleep is also a good option to stay stress-free and healthy.