Health Benefits of Walking
Today we are going to talk about an activity you likely have been doing since the age since you were 12 to 18 months old – and that is walking. We stress the benefits of resistance training and high intensity interval training, but less strenuous activities like walking also provide health benefits and provide a change of pace, and a chance for recovery from your more strenuous workouts. You may be surprised at the number of health benefits of walking.
Walking has several practical benefits that many other forms of exercises do not. It doesn’t take a lot of skill. You already know how to do it so you don’t have to learn anything new.
Plus, outside a pair of shoes (and you don’t even need them if you don’t mind going bare foot) it doesn’t require any equipment. Walking can be done indoors or outdoors, in sunshine or rain, on flat ground or hills providing you with much flexibility and variety in the manner you choose to walk.
Now for the health benefits of walking. To obtain the following benefits of walking it is recommended that you walk 30 minutes a day.
- Improves blood pressure.
- Improves blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity.
- Improves lipid or cholesterol profile.
- Decrease srisk of diabetes.
- Maintain healthier body composition.
- Decreases the risk of osteoporosis.
- Decreases the risk of some cancers like breast and colon.
- Improves mental well being.
- Decreases the risk of heart disease.
Walking reduces the risk of heart disease because it lessens the risk of many heart disease risk factors (blood pressure, blood sugar/diabetes, body composition, and lipid profile.
From our perspective walking 30 minutes a day is the minimum physical activity anyone should do. And, as you can see you receive a nice return on your investment of time in walking.
Walking: Practical Tips
- Ease into it if you have been sedentary starting with 10-15 minutes a day and gradually increasing your time.
- Walk different routes for variety.
- Activate your senses while walking: listens to the sounds, smell the roses, take time to reflect on the day.
- Consider walking with a partner for safety reasons as well as motivation.
- Consider buying a pedometer. This measures the number of steps you take which makes it easy to track your progress and is more effective than keeping a diary of your walking program. Pedometers are inexpensive and easy to use. Strive for 10,000 steps a day.
- Be sure to stretch – best done after a walk when the muscles are warm. Even with walking muscles will tighten up.