You might well be thinking that walking is a part of your normal day. Walking from room to room, up and down the stairs, to the car and around the supermarket – but sadly, while being better than nothing, this is not the sort of exercise that will benefit your health.
The fact is, that just by making a few simple changes, active walking can make a huge difference to your health and ultimately give a good workout and a lot of pleasure at the same time.
Table of Contents
- The Natural Way To Get Healthy and Fit
- Walking Really Can Be Fun
- The Heart Will Become Stronger
- Walking Can Significantly Reduce the Risk of Disease
- Reduce Your Risk of Osteoporosis and Dementia
- Walking Boosts Your Levels of Vitamin D
- Keeping Your Weight In Check
- Toning Every Part of Your Body
- Stay Healthy – You Know It Makes Sense
The Natural Way To Get Healthy and Fit
Forget pumping iron and boring treadmills at the gym – put on some comfy shoes or trainers and get out and enjoy the countryside or the park. Set yourself a daily routine and the health benefits will amaze you as there is hardly a single part of the body that brisk walking cannot improve.
Below you will find just seven good reasons why it will have a positive effect on your health. There are many more – but here are the main ones.
As an exercise, walking is probably one of the most enjoyable. Do it with a friend or join one of the many walking groups that you will find in your area.
This way one major benefit comes to the fore and that is your general well-being. By making the walk into a social activity you will feel happier and more content, as a brisk walk with friends can be as effective as antidepressants in people who may be suffering from any mild to moderate forms of depression.
It works equally as well if you are just having a bad day. The good endorphins that are produced naturally by the body during exercise get released into the blood stream, which in turn helps to reduce anxiety and stress and ultimately, it’s just great to get out into the fresh air with some like-minded people.
The Heart Will Become Stronger
Regular walking, even just 15-30 minutes a day, will reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke as it lowers levels of LDL cholesterol, which is the bad one, while increasing levels of HDL – the good one. It also helps to keep the blood pressure in check.
Brisk walking will increase your heart rate, which in turn will get the blood pumping, giving a workout for your heart and circulatory system. The Stroke Foundation informs us that brisk walking can reduce the risk of a stroke by as much as 27 per cent.
Walking Can Significantly Reduce the Risk of Disease
Type 2 diabetes is a very serious illness which can dramatically affect your lifestyle. According to the charity ‘Walking For Health’, this type of exercise can reduce the possibility of becoming diabetic by anything up to 60 per cent.
Brisk walking can also reduce the risk of some cancers and asthma. Indeed, just 20 minutes a day will lower the risk of developing breast, womb and colon cancer by as much as 20 percent.
Reduce Your Risk of Osteoporosis and Dementia
To be active all your life is great, but it becomes even more important as you get older. There are two illnesses which happen over a period of time and can go undetected during the early stages.
Osteoporosis – a weakening of the bones as they lose their density with age, is a real problem for people, especially the over 65’s. Walking stimulates and strengthens the bones and also helps to maintain healthy joints, which in turn will help to prevent the occurrence of arthritis.
Dementia is also a very serious problem affecting one in 14 people over the age of 65. Walking will keep you active, which has a positive effect on how the brain functions. Age UK states that walking approximately six miles a week can avoid brain shrinkage and help to preserve memory function.
Walking Boosts Your Levels of Vitamin D
Simply walking in daylight, you will boost the amount of vitamin D in your body. As vitamin D is very difficult to get from food, the easiest way to sustain vital levels is by the body’s natural ability to synthesise from exposure to sunlight.
Many people have a vitamin D deficiency, which is a problem as it is a nutrient that plays a big part in controlling everything from bone health to the immune system. Use a sunscreen lotion when very hot, but enjoy the benefits of raising vitamin D levels simply by taking an enjoyable walk.
Keeping Your Weight In Check
Without a doubt, walking is one of the easiest ways to maintain control of your weight. With an average calorie intake of 2500 per day for men and 1940 for women, it is necessary to burn at least 600 calories more per day than you are eating.
Taking a brisk 30 minute walk, doing approximately 4 mph, will result in burning 150 calories so long as the speed is maintained. Walking will also increase your muscle tone and mass resulting in a faster metabolism, which allows you to burn even more calories even while resting.
Toning Every Part of Your Body
A good brisk walk will not only strengthen and shape your legs, it will give greater definition to your calves, hamstrings, quads and glutes, (the buttock muscles), which will result in looking great in a pair of shorts no matter what your age. But ensuring that you use every part of your body while walking, by paying attention to your posture, will result in the toning up of your waist and abs.
Walk with your body straight and head up which will help to lengthen your spine. Keep your shoulders relaxed and pull in the tummy and pelvis floor. This posture will ensure that your shoulders will rotate as you walk, which will automatically work your oblique abdominal muscles, resulting in inches coming off your waist.
Stay Healthy – You Know It Makes Sense
It may come as a surprise to realize that Great Britain and the USA have approximately the same statistics regarding obesity, with around 50 per cent of the population being classed as overweight and 25 per cent of these being clinically obese.
People living in towns and cities are far more likely to become obese than people living in rural areas who tend to walk more. Bear in mind that you should be able to chat with your friends while taking a brisk walk, as this is part of the enjoyment, so you should start slower and gradually increase your pace until this is possible.
There is no doubt that walking is the most incredible way to live longer, keep trim and be healthier overall. It will also keep you mentally and physically active. On weekends, take the time with family and friends to travel out to some beautiful countryside and get everyone walking.
It will not be long before you are more relaxed, sleeping better and generally looking and feeling great. Go on – you know it makes sense.
Health by choice, not by chance.