There are a lot of good reasons to go for a walk. It is fun, it’s relaxing, and most importantly, it’s good for your health. But what exactly are the health benefits of walking?
And after learning the whys, it would give you more reason to head out for a walk each day and you will be motivated to stick on your walking routine.
It never hurts to remind yourself of the health benefits you’d gain by walking regularly.
It’s true – you will not notice these long-term benefits right away, you will notice these things:
You’ll have more energy.
You’ll sleep better.
You’ll be fitter.
And you’ll be happier.
Find shorter segments of time where walking naturally fits into your schedule.
Look, if our ancestors survived the Ice Age, it won’t kill you to walk in the rain.
In our age of climate control and central air, we like our environment to remain comfortable at all times. But, come on, how “boring” is that?
Another trick is to think of walking as a basic human need, like sleep, shelter, and food.
Then, after you complete your 30 minutes, reward yourself with any of the other three needs.
Walk back home and go in the kitchen. The key is to never demand too much from yourself.
What are the benefits of walking?
Research shows time and again that walking, the most natural movement of all to us. It is incredibly beneficial in so many areas of our health: physical, mental, and spiritual.
Walking lowers cholesterol and blood pressure, burns off surplus pounds, alleviates mild depression, enhances your mood, and reduces the effect of stress and more.
Walking is one of the most productive forms of exercise and causes a tremendous increase in your energy levels.
The benefit seen from adding just 20 minutes of walking to your daily routine are unbelievable.
The added exertion of physical exercise is often the catalyst our bodies needed to boost weight loss into high gear.
For the individual trying to lose weight, the benefits of walking far exceed an infringement on personal time or detraction from television time that occurs.
Not only is it good for your body, when you’re trying to cut back, it gives you something constructive to do with your time.
Exercise also decreases our hunger pangs, increases our fluid intake, and helps our blood to circulate much better.
If there are any down-side effects to walking, it is the added pressure we put on our knees, ankles, and feet.
If you already have a joint condition, such as arthritis, you might want to start very slowly, and add mileage only as you see that your body can handle what you are presently doing.
Taking the time to buy good, supportive shoes, and wear leg bracing if needed can eliminate any further injury or harm.
Talk to your doctor is you think you might have any of these conditions, and make sure that you are taking care of your body as you exercise it.
The peace of mind that comes from taking a few minutes to stop and enjoy the sunset as you walk cannot be compared.
Walking gives you the time we no longer take for private reflection.
To ask yourself if you spent your day wisely, did you omit something that needed to be done, did you listen to your spouse when he needed to talk?
Twenty minutes out of your day to walk, contribute to your health, clear your mind, and get a glimpse of the most beautiful sunset, how can you not take advantage of an offer like that?
But going on foot has other benefits, too. Most people will agree that a ten to twenty minute walk is a great way to clarify your thoughts and put your problems into perspective.
One aspect of walking that is under-appreciated is how much it can enhance your creativity.
“Studies have shown that spending as little as an hour a week in a natural area can have a positive influence on creativity,” says James A. Swan, Ph.D., author of Nature as Teacher and Healer.
New ideas, thoughts, and emotions often surface during a walk. Be sure to write these down immediately after your walk, or perhaps record it with your gadget while you’re at it.
To continue, here are the valuable benefits that you will get with walking:
Walking Gets You Outside in the Fresh Air and Sunshine
No matter how fast or slow you walk, walking gets you outside and in the fresh air.
This alone will make you feel better as your body absorbs the oxygen and sunshine. Both are important for your health and well-being.
You will find the air quality outside, particularly if you go for a walk on the beach or in a park, will be much better than the air inside your house.
Of course, the sunshine outside will help your body produce all the Vitamin D it needs.
Walking can Help you Get to and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Walking particularly at a quick pace and doing it regularly can help you get to and then maintain a healthy weight.
Yes, you still need to watch what you eat and aim for a healthy diet, but walking can be another tool to help you drop those extra pounds.
The nice thing about walking when you’re overweight is that you burn a lot of calories, even on short and slow walks, simply because you’re carrying so much weight around with you.
As you start to lose the weight, your overall strength, and endurance increase, allowing you to walk longer, further, and faster.
Walking Improves Your Sense of Balance and Coordination
As you walk, particularly when walking over rougher terrain, you’re also working on your sense of balance and coordination. Just getting in the habit of going for a daily walk will help.
But you can work even more on your sense of balance by moving your head around. Turn your head to the right and left as you walk for a count of 30.
Then move your head up and down for a count of 30. If you do these simple exercises once or twice as you walk each day you’ll get even more benefit.
Walking Strengthens your Bones and Muscles
Even though walking is a low impact form of exercise it helps to strengthen and tone your body.
If you’re just starting out, it is all you need to start to get into better shape.
As you get more fit, consider adding weight lifting exercises in addition to your daily walks to continue to get stronger and help develop strong muscles and bones.
Walking can Help you Lower your Blood Pressure and Strengthen your Heart
Walking has all sorts of health benefits among them the ability to help lower your blood pressure and strengthen your heart.
Many people at risk for stroke and heart disease are overweight, unhealthy and have a hard time exercising.
Thankfully walking is an easy, low-impact workout that almost anyone can do.
Start where you’re at. Just put on your shoes and head out there. If all you can do is walk for five to ten minutes, start there.
It’s a great start and that’s a lot more exercise than you’ve been getting.
Stick with it for a week and then see if you can make it for 15 minutes.
If you can go for a 30-minute walk, start there. Pick up the pace, walk briskly and after a week or two, try to go for 45-minute walks. Or break up your walking workout into 3 shorter sessions interspersed throughout your day.
If you have any health conditions and in particular, if you’re suffering from high blood pressure and are at risk for heart disease, discuss your walking plans with your doctor. The two of you can come up with a plan that’s appropriate and safe for you.
Getting out and walking will help you on several different levels. The act of walking itself, particularly if you can go for a walk out in a pretty park is very relaxing and will lower your blood pressure soon after the walk.
That’s a terrific benefit of walking and something that will help you feel better right away. But the benefits don’t stop there.
The regular exercise will strengthen your heart. Remember your heart is a muscle and going for a brisk walk works out more than your leg muscles.
As you work out your heart, it gets stronger and better at pumping blood through your body.
And as you strengthen your muscles and your body overall, you are likely losing body fat. That’s good news for your blood pressure long term.
All it takes is heading out there for a short little walk each day. As you get stronger those walks will get longer and you may even give swimming or riding your bike a try.
Or you can go out for hiking with friends and family in a nearby park or other location that suits for hiking.
Hiking Your Way to Health
It is not always necessary for you to do boring exercises in order to stay fit. As a matter of fact, many people will not be able to stick with something that they do not enjoy long enough to see the long term benefits.
One of the most interesting and enjoyable activities that you can do is to take up hiking.
This is more than simply walking around the block or perhaps strolling through the mall. It is a strenuous exercise that you would need to build up to in order to be efficient at it.
Although it is not effortless, you would be surprised with how enjoyable it is and how quickly the time passes as you are doing it.
Some don’t consider hiking to be exercise at all, they consider it to be a hobby that they are dedicated to and will continue to do as long as their legs allow them to do so.
What would happen if you were not in some place that was conducive to hiking?
Not all of us live in a mountainous area that would allow us to get in a good hike without having to travel too far to get to the location.
Believe it or not, most communities have an area that would suffice for such an activity.
You would probably be surprised to find out that one is right in your backyard, even if it isn’t exactly what you are looking for.
As long as you’re getting out in nature and walking around enjoying the things that are nearby, this is exercise and it is hiking.
You might enjoy hiking so much that you decide to make a trip out of it. Many individuals end up going away in order to hike somewhere special.
You can’t imagine how many calories you will be burning and how physically fit you will be as a result of this activity.
Take the time to do it on a regular basis and you will love the way you look.
More than weight loss, your health is far more important although you can have both with walking.
Add to that the fact that walking helps you de-stress and it’s no wonder that walking regularly has such beneficial effects on your health.
Aside from walking for errands or because you have to, you can go and walk by yourself to ponder on things, to relax your mind or simply an alone time.
Likewise, you can walk with someone and spend some time talking about anything under the sun until you would not realize the distance you cover.
Indeed, walking is just fantastic!
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