Are you too busy to stick to your workout routine? With hectic schedules and so much already on your plate, exercise is hardly your priority. But you must understand, this tedious and exhausting lifestyle comes with significant health challenges. And ignoring your daily fitness will only take a toll on your physical and mental health. You don’t have to indulge in rigorous exercise, something as simple as walking can keep you hale and hearty. It is an effortless yet powerful fitness regime with endless health benefits.
A 30-minutes of strut a day can reduce the risks of chronic diseases and improve your blood pressure. Walking is simple, free and easily adjustable to your routine. You can take a walk to your office, join a hiking club, partner with a friend for evening strolls, or take stairs rather than a lift. You might feel out of breath initially, but keep trying and pushing yourself until your walking stamina gradually improves. Rest assured that soon your heart will be happier and your brain sharper.
7 Surprising Benefits of Walking
1. Burns Calories & Maintains Weight
Regular walking can help you burn calories, lose belly fat, and improve your body’s response to insulin. The movement on the scale may not be significant, but your pants will fit more comfortably or loosely, indicating your right steps toward weight loss. Include hills, change walking speed, and increase the distance covered for faster results. Aim at 10,000 steps a day and for motivation, take the same route every few days to beat the previous time. There is no better boost than challenging yourself.
2. Alleviates Joint Pain
Walking for about 15-30 minutes a day can improve your blood flow and strengthen the muscles supporting the joints. Thus, increasing the range of mobility and motion. Moreover, for older adults who have arthritis, walking for 10-60 minutes a week can relieve joint pain and prevent disability for years. It is a convenient workout for people with arthritis, irrespective of their fitness levels. Also, you don’t have to shell out for expensive medicines and surgery.
3. Lifts Your Spirit
After a rough day, you probably want to sulk in your room and talk to no one. However, it’s time like this that you must lace up your walking shoes, go out, connect with nature, let your skin feel the sun, and get rid of all the worries. According to research, a 10-minute walk can brighten up your mood. Another research revealed that during the COVID-19 pandemic, a few minutes of strut improved mood significantly. It helps you release endorphins, reduce anxiety, and feel calmer. When you stride with a friend, it reduces symptoms of social withdrawal & depression, motivates you to interact, and makes you more resistant to stress.
4. Reduces Risks of Chronic Diseases
To treat chronic diseases and improve your blood sugar levels, walk for a few minutes several times a day. Taking approx 10,000 steps every day at the right pace can lower your systolic blood pressure by .45 points. With regular walking, your heart beats faster, respiration reduces the risk of heart attack by 35%, guarding and strengthening it. Those who walk enough daily to meet their physical activity targets have a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular events than those who do not take walks.
5. Boosts Brainpower
Pounding pavement can clear your head, helping you think creatively and make wiser decisions. Research revealed that people who walk briskly for one hour, at least three times a week, their brains show more efficient decision-making capabilities than those who attend seminars. Another research states that physical activities like walking can enhance brain function in older women. Health professionals believe that this could be because walking increases blood flow to the brain, which improves their intellectual abilities.
6. Delays the Onset of Varicose Veins
With age, the chances of developing varicose veins also increase. One effective way to delay them is walking. Luis Navarro, M.D., founder and director of The Vein Treatment Center in New York City, explains, “The venous system includes a circulatory section known as ‘the second heart,’ which is formed by muscles, veins, and valves located in our calf and foot.” He adds, “This system works to push blood back up to the heart and lungs—and walking strengthens this secondary circulatory system by strengthening and preserving leg muscle, which boosts healthy blood flow.” Doctors also recommend wearing compression socks while walking to prevent varicose veins.
7. Improves Quality of Sleep
When your body feels tired after long walks, you get sound sleep at night. A study found that postmenopausal women involved in mild to intense physical activities doze off better at night. As walking reduces stress, one can fall into slumber without any worries or anxieties. Another research shows that healthy adults who walk daily enjoy quality sleep.
Walking is a basic and accessible physical activity recommended for people of all ages and fitness levels. Prefer using the right gear in case of an injury and tracking daily steps through a pedometer. Start slow, plan different walking routes, increase duration and frequency at your pace, and make sure to meet your daily target.