Walking is a great aerobic exercise and an effective way to kick start your metabolism. You just need your burning desire to be fit, good walking shoes, time, determination, consistency, a pedometer to track your steps and a bottle of water. Before you know it, you will start reaping the health benefits of walking. You can lose weight by walking 30 minutes a day but this can only be achieved if you combine your 30 minutes brisk walking with a healthy diet. Walking constantly will help you maintain a healthy weight, prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Here are 10 health benefits of walking men and women should be enjoying:
1. Helps with weight loss
Walking is a good way to increase your metabolism and lose weight. It also increases energy expenditure and inexpensive way to burn calories. You just need your trainers and time to walk and reap the benefits.
2. Regulates blood pressure
Walking can help lower blood pressure by improving circulation. Taking 10, 000 steps a day is the goal but if you are unable to complete it, walk for at least 30 minutes every day to keep your blood pressure levels in check.
3. Strengthens bones and muscles
Walking regularly strengthens bones by improving the lubrication between joints and toning your muscles. You get stronger muscles when you walk regularly.
4. Boosts immune functions
Walking helps reduce frequent attacks of infection and boosts immunity. You enjoy high energy levels and keep sicknesses at bay. You are immune to certain infections if you walk consistently. This is one surprising benefits of walking.
5. Uplifts mood
Going for long walks can make you happy. No matter how moody you are, you will feel better after going for a long walk. It gives you the much needed mood boost to start your day. Some scientific studies have proven that physical activity can help prevent depression. So, walk whenever you feel overwhelmed with life’s many problems.
6. Increases lung capacity
Walking can increase your lung capacity. When you walk, you breathe in more oxygen as compared to when you are stationary. This exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide at a larger volumes help increase your lung capacity, thereby increasing your stamina and exercise performance.
7. Reduces stress
Walking can help reduce stress levels by improving circulation, which then provides nutrients and oxygen to the cells. It also stimulates the nervous system receptors and decreases the production of stress hormones.
8. Regulates blood glucose levels
Going for walks regularly can help improve fasting and post meal blood glucose levels. Scientists recommend taking 5,000 steps a day to help manage type 2 diabetes. These steps should be brisk walking.
9. Improves memory
When you walk every day, you give your memory power a boost. This is because physical exercise helps increase the size of the hippocampus, while a sedentary lifestyle shrinks the hippocampus, and this leads to memory loss.
10. Boosts energy
This is one of the best benefits I enjoy from taking long walks daily. Walking increases oxygen flow through the body. It also increases levels of the hormones that help elevate energy levels.
30 minutes walk every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. This is how much walking is good for health. You shouldn’t walk long distances if you are just starting out. Start by walking 20 minutes every day. Gradually increase this duration to 30 minutes a day. Then, you can increase this to one hour or more. As you get stronger, gradually increase the pace of your walking. You should always do warm up and cool down exercises before and after walking to prevent injuring your muscles and tissues.
How to walk effectively
1. Set a time for your walk.
2. Get an accountable walk partner.
3. Invest in good walking sports shoes.
4. Get a fitness watch to monitor your walk.
5. A bottle of water if you desire.
6. Comfortable gym wears.
7. Walk during the day while working or watching television.
8. Explore new walk paths as time goes on.
9. Aim to walk briskly for a hour or two daily.
10. Combine your walk with a diet filled with protein, vegetables and healthy fats.
You should know that too much walking is harmful to your body too. While it is okay to want to lose weight or keep fit, you shouldn’t walk for more than 2 hours a day. Walking for more than 2 hours may strain your knees, legs and leave you exhausted.