Walking is the most popular physical activity among adults, and it’s easy to see why. It requires no special clothes or equipment, and it’s free.
Thinking about adding more physical activity to your day? Walking can be a great way to get more active.
Regular walking can have many health benefits. It may lower your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. It can strengthen your bones and muscles. It may help you maintain a healthy weight. It might also help lift your mood.
Make walking fun by going to places you enjoy, like a shopping center or park. Bring along someone to chat with, or listen to some of your favorite music (but keep the volume low enough to hear the sounds around you).
Think about safety as you plan when and where to walk. Walk with others when possible, and take a phone and ID with you. Let someone know your walking time and route. If it’s dark outside, wear a reflective vest or brightly colored clothing. And always be aware of your surroundings.
Walking is a great way to improve or maintain your overall health. Just 30 minutes every day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat, and boost muscle power and endurance. It can also reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some cancers. Unlike some other forms of exercise, walking is free and doesn’t require any special equipment or training.
Physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods in order to improve your health. A 2007 study of inactive women found that even a low level of exercise around 75 minutes per week improved their fitness levels significantly, when compared to a non-exercising group.
Walking is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of day and can be performed at your own pace. You can get out and walk without worrying about the risks associated with some more vigorous forms of exercise. Walking is also a great form of physical activity for people who are overweight, elderly, or who haven’t exercised in a long time.
Walking for fun and fitness isn’t limited to strolling by yourself around local neighbourhood streets. There are various clubs, venues and strategies you can use to make walking an enjoyable and social part of your lifestyle.
Health benefits of walking
1) Increases Lung Capacity
Walking can also increase your lung capacity. When you walk, you breathe in more oxygen as compared to when you are stationary. This exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide at a larger volume can help increase your lung capacity, thereby increasing your stamina and exercise performance . The best part is, you don’t even have to run. A medium-paced 60-minute walk (with breaks, if you need them!) can do the trick.
2) Delays Aging
3) Helps Produce Vitamin D
Walking in the morning is a great opportunity for your body to produce vitamin D. Vitamin D is essential for bone strength and it prevents cancer, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes type 1. So, it is very important that you get at least 10-15 minutes of morning sun exposure, and walking is a great way to do so.
4) Increases Your Creativity
Walking also helps to increase your creativity. It helps calm your nerves and relaxes your brain. When you walk, you don’t have the pressure of a deadline or meeting a certain expectation. This helps your brain to think strategically and in a more sorted way. So, if you are stuck with a problem, take a walk!
5) Builds Social Support
Walking can help you build social support and make new friends who will encourage you to walk every day. You will look forward to meeting them. Also, you can walk to support a social cause. At the end of the day, you will be filled with positive energy and peace.
It is clear from this list that walking can improve your health in many ways, but what preparations do you need to make if you want to start walking? Explained in the next section.
6) It counteracts the effects of weight-promoting genes.
Harvard researchers looked at 32 obesity-promoting genes in over 12,000 people to determine how much these genes actually contribute to body weight. They then discovered that, among the study participants who walked briskly for about an hour a day, the effects of those genes were cut in half.
7) It helps tame a sweet tooth.
A pair of studies from the University of Exeter found that a 15-minute walk can curb cravings for chocolate and even reduce the amount of chocolate you eat in stressful situations. And the latest research confirms that walking can reduce cravings and intake of a variety of sugary snacks.
8) It reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.
Researchers already know that any kind of physical activity blunts the risk of breast cancer. But an American Cancer Society study that zeroed in on walking found that women who walked seven or more hours a week had a 14% lower risk of breast cancer than those who walked three hours or fewer per week. And walking provided this protection even for the women with breast cancer risk factors, such as being overweight or using supplemental hormones.
9) It eases joint pain.
Several studies have found that walking reduces arthritis-related pain, and that walking five to six miles a week can even prevent arthritis from forming in the first place. Walking protects the joints especially the knees and hips, which are most susceptible to osteoarthritis by lubricating them and strengthening the muscles that support them.
10) It boosts immune function.
Walking can help protect you during cold and flu season. A study of over 1,000 men and women found that those who walked at least 20 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week, had 43% fewer sick days than those who exercised once a week or less. And if they did get sick, it was for a shorter duration, and their symptoms were milder.