There are a great many benefits we get from walking. It is possible to maintain your overall health with as little as 30 minutes daily. It will help to reduce excess weight, strengthen bones, improve cardiovascular functioning and boost muscle power. Walking will also help in reducing risks of becoming ill with conditions such as osteoporosis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and also some forms of cancer. Walking, is something that fortunately, like checking into an online casino, most of us can do, and it is free.
Any physical activity is good and it does not have to be vigorous in order for it to be beneficial for your health. Studies have shown that even a very low level of exercise, as little as 75 minutes each week, can improve fitness levels quite drastically.
Walking is considered a low impact exercise and can be done by everyone. You are free to choose when you walk and the level to which you wish to do it. Walking has no health risks associated with it as do some other forms of exercise. Walking can help those who are overweight, elderly or those who have been sedentary for a long period of time. Walking doesn’t have to be a solitary activity either. There are groups and clubs that you are able to join that can help to make the experience of walking fun and more enjoyable and add to your social life.
Walking and its many health benefits
Walking will improve a number of bodily functions including:
- Improved cardiovascular and pulmonary functioning.
- Lower risk of having a stroke or of developing heart disease.
- Helps to improve problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and joint stiffness and muscle pains.
- Helps to improve bones and balance.
- Helps to improve muscles and stamina.
- Helps to reduce body fat.
A daily 30 minutes’ walk
Walking briskly for 30 minutes a day will help you to benefit from the above list of health benefits. Brisk means, making a little effort, but means you are still able to carry on a conversation with whoever is walking with you.
However, if you do have a medical condition you should first discuss your planned exercise program with your doctor.
Making physical exercise part of your daily routine
You can always split your walking exercise up. If 30 minutes seems too much, split it into two sessions and then as you get stronger you can continue for longer. However, if you ae trying to lose weight, you will need to exercise for longer than half an hour each day. Making physical activity part of your regular daily routine will help to maintain a healthy weight.
Other ways to incorporate walking into your day could include choosing to walk up the stairs instead of taking the elevator, walking to your local grocery store rather than taking the car and perhaps offering to walk your neighbor’s dog.
It may help to schedule walking into your daily routine; having a specific time each day when you go for your walk. This often makes it easier to maintain.
Using a pedometer
Pedometers have become very popular. People love knowing how many steps they have taken so, using a pedometer may encourage you to walk more. The recommended daily number of steps is 10,000 and this is said to be needed in order to gain the health benefits.
How far or how much should you walk?
It is good to have a planned distance that you wish to cover each day. You will be able to increase this distance you walk as your fitness level improves. Fast walking does burn more calories. However, it is best to pace yourself so you do not completely tire yourself out and become breathless. As you continue to walk, your fitness level will improve and you will find that you have more energy. At that point you may wish to increase the intensity by walking with hand weights, going up hills, increasing the speed and also the distance you walk,
Warm up and cooling off
Starting your walk slowly and leisurely is the best way to warm your muscles up and then gradually building up speed. After a walk it is always good to do some stretching of your leg muscles. You should try holding the stretch for around 20 seconds. Dress lightly and comfortably as you will sweat when you walk, even briskly.
Wearing the right footwear is very important and will help to avoid any foot injuries or blisters from occurring. You should make sure that your shoes have the proper heel and arch supports for your feet.
Make walking an enjoyable activity
There are many ways to make walking fun and interesting. You can walk with friends or join a walking club. You can use walking as a way to explore new neighborhoods or areas that you wouldn’t otherwise have reason to visit. You may surprise yourself to find that you see many things that you have never noticed before. Walking your dog or someone else’s is a great to get you motivated to walk every day.
Walking with others can make walking more fun. You can even make it a family activity that is done on a regular basis or set up your own walking group with friends of neighbors.
Safety when walking
If you haven’t exercised for a long time and are overweight, it is best to go and get checked before you start on any fitness program, and especially if you are older. Don’t be over-zealous to begin with. Start slowly and choose walks that match your fitness level.
Remember to warm up at the beginning of your walk and to cool down when you have finished. Along with the sensible shoes you should wear a hat to protect you from the sun or waterproof clothing to prevent you from getting wet and cold if it rains. Sunscreen and long sleeves should be worn to prevent sunburn. Remember to drink before you begin and if you are going on a long walk you should take a bottle of water with you.