Physical activity doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t always need to hit the gym and work out 7 days a week to get the benefits of physical activity. It can be something as simple as going for a walk every day. A brisk walk every day has several health benefits, especially if you walk more frequently.
You can start with waking a mile at a slower pace and then work your way up to walking faster and in a shorter amount of time. Walking is a great aerobic activity to burn calories and improve your heart health. You can also switch between brisk walking and leisurely walking. It will improve cardiovascular health and burn more calories than regular walking.
Before you start, invest in comfortable shoes
Before you start walking for health, make sure you invest in trainers that are comfortable, provide adequate support and don’t cause blisters. If you are walking to work, wear a comfy pair of shoes and change them when you get to work.
If you’re walking longer hours, carry some water and healthy snacks with yourself. Don’t forget sunscreen if you’re walking during the day! You can also wear a hat to protect yourself from the sun. For longer walks, also invest in a waterproof jacket in case it unpredictably starts raining.
What are the benefits?
Walking may lower the risk of dying
According to an 11-year study, walking for at least 7,000 steps a day lowers the risk of dying from medical problems by 50 to 70 compared to those who took fewer steps. However, the researchers also controlled several other behaviors and lifestyle factors. These includes, smoking history, alcohol intake, diet and health markers for example, usage of medications, blood pressure, fasting glucose and cholesterol levels.
Being active keeps all parts of your body healthy, and keeps the brain, muscles, cardiovascular system, lungs, kidneys and even bones healthy.
Walking helps preserve bone health and potentially decreases the risk of osteoporosis (a condition that weakens bones and causes them to break easily). Walking also improves core strength and balance to help prevent falls as you age. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, a brisk walk for 10 minutes a day can help improve bone strength in the legs and spine.
Walking will lift your mood
Heading out for a walk whenever you’re feeling down can help with your mood. Studies have shown that a 10-minute brisk walk can uplift mood especially when it comes to fatigue. Getting up and moving helps shake off the low energy. Similarly, according to a study published in 2017, walking for 5 minutes may help lower the symptoms of depression.
Walking helps lose weight
If you’re looking to shed a few pounds, it’s not always necessary to participate in strenuous exercises. Studies have shown that walking for 2.5 hours per week with a calorie deficient diet will help you lose more weight compared to a calorie deficient diet alone.
Promotes heart health
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, walking regularly helps lower cholesterol which increases the risk of heart disease. Studies have further shown that walking can reduce your total cholesterol levels significantly. Walking also helps decrease blood pressure, which is another risk factor for heart disease.
Walking for at least 30 minutes a day is a great way to improve your overall health. So, get those walking shoes on to begin your journey to a healthier lifestyle. In addition to this, you can also walk with a friend and make it more enjoyable.