The Numerous Health Benefits of Walking
Some medical reports state that walking is the most underrated of all exercises. There are a few reasons for the claim. Walking is simple, easy to do, incredibly affordable and highly beneficial. No special equipment, fitness training or knowledge are required to get started with it.
So, what exactly are the key health benefits of walking?
For a start, it is an effective form of exercise that can burn calories and help for the maintenance of healthy body weight. At the same time, the intensity level and speed are both easy to modify. Hence, walking is the perfect choice for everyone, regardless of their current fitness level.
Walking is a form of cardiovascular exercise, which means that it’s good for the heart. According to research published in the European Journal of Epidemiology, walking for 30 minutes per day reduces the risk of heart disease by as much as 19 percent.
Not only that, taking a walk is also a great way to maintain optimal blood sugar levels.
Like all types of exercise, walking enhances metabolism and helps the body utilize nutrients in a more effective way. This effect, combined with the fact that walking helps for the maintenance of healthy weight, contributes to a reduced risk of obesity, metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Walking delivers an array of additional health benefits.
It strengthens the immune response, increasing the body’s natural ability to counter common infections. According to one study conducted among 1,000 individuals during flu and cold season, those who walked for 30 minutes per day saw a 43 percent reduction in sick days in comparison to those leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Regular walking improves joint health, boosts energy levels, helps for posture improvements and better stress management. All of these combined effects contribute to longer and happier life. Research published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine concludes that a brisk walk turned into a regular fitness routine brings down the risk of overall death by as much as 24 percent. Even a slow walk can lead to such a positive effect.
All of these benefits justify taking up the routine but what does it take to get started with walking?
The first and most important prerequisite is to get a good pair of supportive athletic shoes. This is especially true for people who are very out of shape and those who plan to build up to a regular walking routine.
The next step would be to set small, manageable galls.
Someone who leads a very sedentary lifestyle shouldn’t aim for 10,000 steps per day right off the bat. A daily walk in the park for 20 to 30 minutes is more than enough to build the habit. Eventually, the length of the walk could increase (and the same applies to the speed or intensity of walking).
The daily goal should be increased every once in a while to keep things challenging and exciting. Setting up a walking routine with a friend is great for the purpose. Having two (or more) people keeping each other responsible and challenging each other will add a fun social element to the equation.
The final thing to remember is to take it slow and celebrate small successes.
It takes time and patience to establish a healthy habit. Small changes do pay off in the long run. Walking to the shop instead of driving, parking farther away from a final destination and running errands on foot can all enhance one’s activity level. In time, these little changes will add up to profound improvements.