Walking can offer numerous health benefits to people of all ages and fitness levels whilst also helping to prevent certain diseases and even prolong your life. It is free to do and easy to fit into your daily routine. All you need to start walking is a sturdy pair of walking shoes.
So what are the benefits of walking?
1. Burn calories
Walking can help you burn calories. Burning calories can help you maintain or loose weight. The amount of
calories you burn depend on several factors, including:·
Terrain (you’ll burn more calories walking uphill than you’ll burn on a flat surface)
2. Strengthen the heart
Walking at least 30 minutes a day, five days a week can reduce your risk for Coronary Heart Disease by aro
und 19%, so a research shows. And your risk may reduce even more when you increase the duration or distance you walk per day.
3. Can help lower your blood sugar
Taking a short walk after eating may help lower your blood sugar. One small study found that taking a 15-minute walk three times a day (after breakfast, lunch, and dinner) improved blood sugar levels more than taking a 45-minute walk at another point during the day. Though more research is needed to confirm these findings, though.
Even so it might be worth considering making a post-meal walk a regular part of your routine.
4. Eases joint pain
Walking can help protect the joints, including your knees and hips. That’s because it helps lubricate and strengthen the muscles that support the joints. Walking may also provide benefits for people living with arthritis, such as reducing pain. And walking 5 to 6 miles a week may also help prevent arthritis. This distance walked may vary depending on the severity of the arthritis, and in some more severe cases walking is too painful so if you have arthritis, test the waters bit at a time and see what happens.
5. Boosts immune function
Walking may reduce your risk for developing a cold or the flu. One study tracked 1,000 adults during flu season. Those who walked at a moderate pace for 30 to 45 minutes a day had 43 percent fewer sick days and fewer upper respiratory tract infections overall. Their symptoms were also lessened if they did get sick. That was compared to adults in the study who were sedentary.
Try to get in a daily walk to experience these benefits. If you live in a cold climate, you can try to walk on a treadmill or around an indoor mall.
6. Boost your energy
Going for a walk when you’re tired may be a more effective energy boost than grabbing a cup of coffee.
Walking increases oxygen flow through the body. It can also increase levels of cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Those are the hormones that help elevate energy levels.
7. Improve your mood
Walking can help your mental health, and can help reduce anxiety, depression, and a negative mood. It can also boost self-esteem and reduce symptoms of social withdrawal.
To experience these benefits, aim for 30 minutes of brisk walking or other moderate intensity exercise three days a week. Or even broken up into smaller 10 minutes chunks several times per day.
8. Extend your life
Walking at a faster pace could extend your life. In a recent study researchers found that walking at an average pace compared to a slow pace resulted in a 20 percent reduced risk of overall death.
But walking at a brisk or fast pace (at least 4 miles per hour) reduced the risk by 24 percent. The study looked at the association of walking at a faster pace with factors like overall causes of death, cardiovascular disease, and death from cancer.
One helpful aid for brisk walking is to use Nordic poles. Nordic walking combines cardiovascular exercise with a vigorous muscle workout for your shoulders, arms, core and legs. Walking without poles you predominantly only activate the muscles below the waist, but when walking with Nordic poles, you active most of the muscles in the trunk and arms as well, providing a more substantial calorific burning benefit.