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Walking is an excellent way to improve or maintain your general health. Health benefits of walking 30 minutes a day can increase cardiovascular fitness, strengthen bones, reduce excess body fat and increase muscle strength and endurance. It can also help you to reduce your risk of developing conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and some types of cancer. Unlike other forms of exercise, the health benefits of walking daily is immense and it is free and does not require any special equipment or training.
Physical activity does not have to be vigorous or done for long periods to improve your health. A 2007 study of inactive people found that even a low level of exercise, about 75 minutes per week, significantly improved their fitness levels, compared to a group without exercise.
Walking is low impact, requires minimal equipment, can be done at any time of the day and can be done at your own pace. You can go 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 have not exercised in a long time.
Walking for fun and fitness is not limited to walking alone through the streets of local neighborhoods. There are several clubs, places and strategies you can use to make walking a pleasant and social part of your lifestyle. You can also reap the benefits of walking on the treadmill.
What are the health benefits of walking
While walking, you are required to carry your own body weight when you walk. This is known as exercise with weights. Some of the benefits of walking daily include:
- reduction in the risk of heart disease and/or stroke
- has shown appreciable improvement in blood pressure
- helps to maintain weight
- can aid to increase HDL and tilt the balance of cholesterol ratio (ratio of total cholesterol to HDL)
- can help to give a boost to your immune system
- gets the blood pumping inside your body
- can help a lot to prevent obesity
- increases functioning of the lungs
- aids in the reduction of risk of cancer
- increases body’s access to Vitamin D
- can drastically improve your quality of sleep
- improves co-ordination and balance
- reduces chance of diabetes
- strengthens bones and muscles
- positively aids in reducing stress levels
- greatly increases your energy levels
- walking can spark creativity in you
- helps to boost your mood
- can aid to reduce your anxiety
- gives you time to practice self care
- improves the general quality of life
Health benefits of walking 30 minutes a day
To get health benefits, try to walk for at least 30 minutes as energetically as you can most days of the week. “Brisk” means you can still talk but can not sing, and you may be huffing and puffing a little. Moderate activities, such as walking, pose little risk to health, but to be doubly sure, if you have a medical condition, check with your doctor before starting any new exercise program.
Building the tempo of physical activity in your life
If at the beginning it is too difficult to walk for 30 minutes at a time, do small regular sessions (10 minutes) three times a day and gradually increase to longer sessions. However, if your goal is to lose weight, you will have to do physical activity for more than 30 minutes each day. You can still achieve this by starting with small episodes of activity throughout the day and increasing these as your physical condition improves.
Some suggestions to increase daily physical activity to effectively reduce weight and lead an active lifestyle for sedentary workers are given below. This will also aid you in maintaining weight once it is lost.
- Use the stairs instead of the elevator (at least part of the way).
- Get off the public transport at least a stop before your stop and walk towards your place of work or home.
- take a brisk walk (do not drive) to local stores.
- Walk your or your neighbor’s dog
- drink plenty of water as it not only reduces the feeling of hunger but it can also aid in reducing that chronic back pain of yours
- volunteer to clean your home regularly
- take up gardening and yard work as an activity
- go for “family walk” after dinner
- instead of “meeting over the lunch” try to have a “meeting over a walk”
Health benefits of walking daily
For most people, there is little difference in the amount of energy used when walking a kilometer or running a kilometer; it’s just that walking takes more time. To increase your efficiency of walking, plan to cover a pre determined distance each day and closely monitor how long you take to walk that distance. As your physical condition improves, you can cover a longer distance and use more energy.
Walking fast burns more calories per hour than walking slowly, but this does not mean that you have to work hard until you are out of breath. Instead, keep up the pace so you can still talk. This simple rule of thumb means that you walk safely within your target heart rate, which produces health benefits.
Our bodies tend to get used to physical activity, so continue to increase your intensity as you can improve your fitness levels. You can increase the intensity of your walks by:
- climbing a slope, hills or a mountain
- increasing the distance you walk quickly before returning to a moderate pace
- walk with hand weights
- walking for more time
- Increase your walking speed gradually including some quick movements
Very important to warm up and cool down after walking
The best and easiest way to warm up is to walk slowly. Begin each walk at a leisurely pace so that your muscles warm up and then increase your speed. Then, gently stretch the muscles of the legs, especially the calves and the front and back thighs. Stretches should be maintained for about 20 seconds. If you feel pain, relieve the stretch. Do not bounce or shake, or you could stretch the muscle tissue too much and cause microscopic tears, which leads to muscle stiffness and sensitivity.
It is best to dress lightly when doing physical activity. Dressing too warm can increase sweating and increase body temperature, which can make you feel uncomfortable during the walk or cause skin irritation. A gradual cooling will also prevent muscle stiffness and injuries.
Walking is a form of effective and inexpensive exercise. However, the wrong type of shoe or walking can cause pain in the foot or shin, blisters and soft tissue injuries. Make sure your shoes are comfortable, with the proper supports for the heel and arch. Take light and easy steps and make sure your heel is touching before the toes. Whenever possible, walk on grass instead of concrete to help absorb the impact. You may consider selecting one of the best and high quality top selling walking shoes here.
How to make walking pleasurable and interesting
Here are some suggestions to help make regular walking a pleasurable form of physical activity include:
- varying where you walk
- walking the dog
- walking with friends
- Join a walking club.
- If you want to stay close to your home and limit your walk to the streets of the neighborhood, choose different routes so you do not get tired of seeing the same views.
- If you feel insecure walking alone, look for one or more friends or family members with whom to walk.
- Walk at various times of the day. The views in the early morning are different from the afternoon or evening.
- Drive to different reservations, park the car and enjoy the views as you walk.
- Explore what is happening around you, observe the sky, the people, the sounds.
- Schedule a regular family walk: this is a great way to transmit healthy habits to your children or grandchildren, and spend time together, while getting fit at the same time.
- If you are walking with children, make sure the route and time of stay are appropriate for your age.
- Babies and toddlers enjoy long walks in the stroller. Take the opportunity to point out items of interest to young people, such as vehicles, flowers and other pedestrians.
- Look for self-guided nature walks that have been established in many parks. Younger children enjoy looking for the next numbered pillar or light post;while the elders can learn about the plants and animals of the park, and maybe take pictures or record their experience in other ways.
- Ask your neighbors or friends if they would like to join you on their walks.
- Think about starting a group walking.
Safety precautions and suggestions while walking
Walking is generally a safe way to exercise, but keep in mind the unexpected dangers. Suggestions include:
- Consult your doctor for a medical checkup before starting a new fitness program, especially if you are over 40, overweight or have not exercised in a long time.
- Choose walks which suit your age and fitness level. Warm up and relax with a slow, gentle walk to get in and out of your workout.
- You should be wearing loose, comfortable clothing and appropriate footwear to avoid blisters and shin splints.
- consider wearing sunglasses, sunscreen, long sleeves and a hat to avoid sunburn.
- Wear waterproof clothing to avoid getting wet if it rains.
- Take a cane or umbrella to defend against hostile and unleashed dogs.
- Before hiking, check the weather forecast and take the appropriate safety measures (for example, pack the correct clothes).
- Watch for hazards in alpine or coastal areas, such as cliff edges or large waves.
- Drink plenty of water and fluids before and after your walk. If you are taking a long walk, bring water with you.
Remember the benefits of walking daily
Regardless of anybody’s shape or size, it has been proved that physical activity adds years to our life and life to our years.
But believe it or not, the benefits of physical activity are not limited to the exercise performed in the gym. In fact, one of the easiest ways to improve your health may be to increase the amount of low intensity physical activity you do during the day.
For example, simply increasing the number of steps you take each day is very likely to reduce your risk of diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is not yet known if this physical activity of light intensity can reduce body weight, but it is clear that people who perform high amounts of light intensity physical activity are much healthier than those who do not. In fact, there is good evidence to suggest that simply reducing the amount of time spent sitting each day can reduce the risk of death independently of other lifestyle factors.
Hence, please ensure to walk at least 30 minutes every day to reap the benefits of walking 30 minutes a day. Comment below with your experiences of walking and we will be glad to hear your progress.