What makes walking so healthy?
We walk less than our ancestors and we move ever less than before. Many of us spend all day sitting down at work and also use the car to drive everywhere. Read here to learn how you can make this activity become an enjoyable and healthy activity. Some even drive to the gym. Popular events such as Park Run and Race for Life often reveal how unfit we have become with unexpected blisters and aching muscles and joints. It’s time to rediscover one of our most natural forms of motion: walking. Physically and mentally, getting your feet moving is healthy and it is one of the cheapest sports. Sport? Absolutely, just ask the members of the Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) or the Race Walking Association! If you’re a beginner, however, just getting out for a quick brisk walk is enough to be an enjoyable and healthy activity.
How often should we be walking?
It is scientifically established that you should try to exercise at least half an hour each day. After a long working day, that can feel like a chore. You’re feeling tired, muscle coordination is no longer optimal and your shoulders, neck and back feel tense. If you can’t reset your mental health and physical fitness and then go to the gym or play a ball sport you might hurt yourself.
In this situation, if you want a healthy and low-impact alternative to being a couch potato or suffering from fatigue, I would recommend a half an hour’s at a quiet but reasonable pace (no dawdling!) could be just the type of exercise you need. Your legs and back get a good work out and your heart and lungs are exercised in a sensible way. Getting outside in the fresh air is also a great way to boost your mood. All these benefits just from this form of excercise for at least thirty minutes every day!
Is walking healthy for your muscles and bones?
Regularly walking strengthens your muscles and bones and can even build up extra bone mass. This reduces the risk of bone loss (osteoporosis). Walking also ensures the build up of cartilage, allowing joints to move smoothly.
Walking is good for your lungs, heart and blood vessels
It will not surprise anyone that long walks are good for general endurance; they allow you to train your lung capacity to absorb oxygen and transport it through the heart and blood vessels. Regular walking is, therefore, also healthy for the heart and blood vessels. A daily half-hour walk can help you to lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Walking against obesity and diabetes
Walking is much less stressful on your joints than running. And with brisk walking and a bit of patience, you can also get great results if you combine walking with aerobic activities. If you walk for an hour (speed of about 5 kilometres per hour), you burn on average about 240 kilocalories. You can compare that with a light breakfast. It all helps so leave the car at home and walk!
And as for type 2 diabetes, which is often associated with obesity: daily walking can reduce the risk of the disease by about 58 percent.
Are you convinced that walking is healthy yet?
Walking helps to combat stress
In addition to the physical benefits, walking helps you to feel good, just as with many other types of exercise. You can ’empty’ the head and the ‘feel good’ endorphins are a well-deserved reward for the exercise. Walking is always worth the effort if you are stressed or suffering from sleep problems.
So do you want to walk regularly?
Don’t overdo it at first, but gradually build up your walking time and speed.
More information can be found on the Runners World website and The Walking Site