The most devastating health problem in our modern world is a result of sitting too much. Moderate or vigorous activities seem to garner most of the focus. But the fact of the matter is that there are a ton of benefits of walking that are often overlooked. In this article we’re going to lay out 12 benefits of walking that will encourage you to give this less flamboyant exercise a try.
Walking can be either a sport activity, or a relaxation methods. It is up to you how you see it – as long as you practice it. But let’s see more on how walking can be, and what benefits does it have.
What Are Some of the Different Types of Walking?
Believe it or not, even walking has different techniques, types and plans. No matter which plan you take up, the most important part of any walking plan is to commit to it. You can win the race, just like the tortoise, at a slow and steady pace.
The Two Minute Walk
Research conducted by Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu at the University of Utah, School of Medicine indicates that getting up and walking for a minimum of two minutes every hour decreases your risks of obesity, diabetes, hypertension, inflammation and atherosclerosis by up to 33%.
To see that light activity had an association with lower mortality is intriguing.
It’s a simple plan that anyone can do anywhere. For every hour you spend sitting, you walk 2 minutes.
The goal of brisk walking is to push your heart rate up to the recommended rate related to your age and health condition and maintain it for 20 minutes. You can calculate your heart rate in order to get the most out of walking as an aerobic exercise by using a training heart rate formula.
Track Walking vs. Road Walking
- Walking on a track allows you to set a goal of a number of laps that you walk. Walking tracks are found in stadiums, parks, indoor gyms and health complexes. You can also find them in a number of other settings, including office buildings.
- Road walking is a little bit different. You can set your distance using an odometer, or you can use the time method. With the time method, you set the time on your walk for 45% of the total time you intend to walk. At whatever point the timer goes off, you turn around and return to your starting point. With this method, your goal becomes pushing past the place where the timer went off as a measure of your fitness.
Whatever method you use for walking, it is important to commit to it and continue the activity even after you begin to see the results. It’s a lifestyle change and not a hit it and quit it program.
10 Benefits of Walking to Help You Step Into a Healthy Lifestyle
Weight management and weight loss are basic benefits of walking over a long term. University of Michigan researchers noted that where short term programs achieved some weight loss, longer term ones were more successful.
Prevent or Manage Heart Disease
A study conducted by the Honolulu Heart Program found that risk for coronary heart disease significantly reduced, due to the benefits of walking.
Maintain Balanced Blood Pressure
Another of the benefits of walking involves the maintenance of blood pressure. The study posted in ClinicalKey reported a significant decrease in both systolic blood pressure and body mass index (BMI) from walking.
Prevent or Manage Diabetes
Reducing and/or managing diabetes is also included in the list of benefits of walking. Research conducted by the Diabetic Division of the CDC indicated that there was a critical relationship between walking and worsening effects of diabetes; including mortality.
Prevent Bone Loss
Among the benefits of walking is the prevention of bone loss. A Japanese study found that post menopausal women who walk will see a significant increase in bone mineral density (BMD).
Improved Balance and Coordination
Another of the benefits of walking involves the improvement and maintenance of balance and coordination. Both muscle strengthening and balance were improved through walking, according to another Japanese study.
Puts You In a Better Mood
Putting you in a better mood is another of the proven benefits of walking. Researchers at the University of Texas saw a significant increase in the moods of the test subjects. This was just after they walked or engaged in light exercise over those subjects who relaxed and did no exercise.
Improved Cholesterol Levels
Also included among the benefits of walking are improved cholesterol levels. The test subjects who walked saw improvements in cholesterol levels as well as improvement in peripheral vascular disease in an Italian study.
Boosts Vitamin D
Increasing the level of vitamin D in your body coincides with walking outdoors while the sun is shining after just twenty minutes. The benefits of walking outdoors in the sun have a major impact on health, according to an article in the Health Section of U.S. News and World Report.
Prevents Cognitive Decline
Research conducted in Texas among patients with Alzheimer’s and dementia provides evidence that the prevention and reversal of cognitive decline is also among the benefits of walking.
A Note of Caution
There are some cautions concerning walking that should you should into consideration as you undertake this exercise. To make certain that you get the most out of walking without harm, here are those cautions:
- Proper walking to avoid pain. Your gait, length of stride and how you place your feet as you walk, among other things, can cause or eliminate pain. Learn how to walk properly before hurting yourself.
- Shoes. Proper shoes are important when it comes to giving your feet the necessary support for walking. Consult a fitness professional who can help you select shoes.
- Dress for the weather. An important part of walking outdoors is being properly dressed for the weather conditions. If you are not properly dressed, you risk illnesses brought on by climatic factors.
- Stay safe. Walk with at least one other person. Choose areas that you know are safe. Avoid walking at night unless you are in a well-lit, public area. Be aware of what is going on around you.
- Don’t walk if you’re injured. There is no point in pushing through the pain of an injury.
Depending on your physical condition, you may limit the intensity of your walking program. Before you start walking as a therapeutic treatment, consult with a health care professional.
A Final Word
The benefits of walking are many. They might not bring about rapid results. But they will bring results over a long-term with a decreased risk of injury if you commit to a regular program of walking as a part of your fitness.
Take up walking to boost your health. Treat current issues and prevent other issues from becoming a problem in the future. If you have questions or comments concerning this article, please be sure to leave them in the section below.