Exercise forms an integral part of people’s lives as it holds quite a number of benefits especially in the field of health. But when exercise is mentioned, a lot of people become skeptical as the assumption is that the activity takes too much hard work. This is simply because individuals take exercise to be a hard run or visiting the gym for some serious weights. The phenomenon is therefore challenged by committed challenges. However, benefits of walking or exercising are enormous.
As simple as it may seem, walking is a form of exercise and is beneficial to you in many ways. So, do not shy away from a good, long walk to enhance different aspects of your health. Here are some of the benefits of walking:
Benefits of Walking: The Heart
it is no doubt that running is beneficial to the heart’s health. Due to the intense sweating and active burning of calories in the muscles, the body burns fat around the heart and keeps it fit. Fat around the heart exposes the organ to shocks that would cause a heart attack among other risks. Walking regularly will help you reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol, conditions that contribute to heart diseases.
According to a study conducted on long-term nurses, walking can lower a woman’s risk for heart diseases by about 30%. The study was conducted on the habits of 72,000 female nurses who practiced a whopping 3 hour of walking per week. This translates to about 30 minutes of walking per day. In a different study published in 2001 by Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, it was concluded that sedentary women with high blood pressure walked 9,700 steps per week for a period of 24 weeks and were able to reduce their systolic blood pressure and body mass.
Harvard researchers conducted a study on 11,000 men and determined that an hour of regular and moderate exercise done five days a week would cut their risk to stroke by half. The regular and moderate exercise is equivalent to brisk walking.
Benefits of Walking: Bones and Joints
Walking helps to strengthen body bones and joints. It should be considered that walking is better and easier for the joints as compared to higher impact activities like aerobics and running while at the same time it helps reduce the risk for osteoporosis as well as falling. Therefore, walking is conducive for those people who are becoming older and can no longer engage in high impact exercises.
According to a study conducted on more than 30,000 men and women between the ages of 29 to 93, it was found out that walking reduced their risk of a fractured hip. Furthermore, a review of 24 studies conducted on aerobic exercises and bone mineral density in women implies that a 30-minute walk every day and a few times a week is enough to increase bone density. An increase in bone density means stronger bones.
Benefits of Walking: Weight Control
Although walking may seem like a mere leisure activity, with the right intensity it can help you lose weight. An intensive enough walk would elevate your heart rate and burn a substantial level of calories which are integral in maintaining a healthy body weight.
A 15-minute walk or 2,000 steps combined with eating a few bites of food per day will play a large role in preventing future weight gain. This is true according to researchers from the Center for Human Nutrition, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center.
Another study published in the International Journal of Obesity suggests that a 30-minute walk combined with a diet on most days of the week may be as beneficial for weight loss than a 60-minute walk per day without a diet. It, therefore, goes to conclude that walking for weight loss purposes, needs a weight loss diet.
But without changing your diet, a review conducted on pedometer-based walking programs suggests that people who take between 2,000 to 4,000 steps a day still expect a modest amount of weight loss.
Benefits of walking to the Mind
Walking is a leisure activity that is easy to execute. Because it is not painful it is relaxing. The exercise gives you time to look around and enjoy what is around you. Individuals have to walk from point A to point B in order to execute different tasks in their lives. But the most effective walk is the leisure walk.
Exercises contribute to a lot of mental health benefits. They include better sleep, reduced depression and generally, a good state of mind. Findings showed that, desk-bound women who took part in the program reported improved emotional satisfaction and mental status. A different study published in Women and Health also support the finding.
A different perspective is taking a walk to clear your mind. You may be feeling stuck at work or looking for a solution to a problem that is just not sufficing. Taking a walk will likely get your creative juices flowing. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology in 2014, walkers thought more critically and creatively.
A great walking program should fit into your schedule. It should not be a daunting task but an exercise to enjoy time with no worries at all.