Why you should walk your way to good health

Walking the dog | Eve | Flickr
Image Credit: Flickr

You pack your gym bag and hurry your way to your regular gym. Pop on your earpiece to enjoy some music as you begin running on the treadmill. You turn to your left and see someone else on the treadmill too. But wait, he is just walking? I’m pretty sure you’ve (at some point) passed judgment at someone who heads to the gym just for a walk.

But the truth is, walking can be and is a good form of workout! Let’s take a look at the benefits of walking!

Benefits of Walking

Walking is a weight-bearing exercise that is associated with a wide range of physical benefits including:

  • Increased cardiovascular and pulmonary (heart and lung) fitness
  • Reduced risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Improved management of conditions such as hypertension (high blood pressure), high cholesterol, joint and muscular pain or stiffness, and diabetes
  • Stronger bones and improved balance
  • Increased muscle strength and endurance
  • Reduced body fat

In addition to these physical benefits, walking is also associated with a whole host of mental health benefits!

It enhances self-perception and self-esteem, improves your mood and sleep efficiency, as well as relieves tension, anxiety, and fatigue. People who are physically active have a 30% lower chance of being stressed, and remaining healthy helps those who are depressed recover.

Kicking start the habit

Just as you need to ease into a workout routine, you should start small before aiming to walk for 30 minutes a day. To do so, you could walk for 10 minutes three times a day. Cutting the time up into chunks like that can help you to keep up with the habit more efficiently.

Also, before beginning a new fitness routine, see your doctor for a medical check-up, especially if you are over 40 years old, overweight, or haven’t exercised in a long time.

Here are some other tips you could use to incorporate walks into your day-to-day life!

  • Take the stairs instead of the escalator or lift
  • Get off public transport one stop earlier and walk to your destination
  • Walk (don’t drive) to the supermarket
  • Walk your dog

Walking your way to good health

The benefits of walking are endless. Having someone to walk with you will help make it a regular activity. So, grab a friend and go for a daily walk after a day of work! You can even ask your neighbors or friends if they would like to join you on your walks and think of starting a walking group!

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